Michigan Sports Betting One Step Closer to Being Legalized

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michigan-capitol
  • Michigan lawmakers advance three sports gambling bills.
  • Bill to move to the Ways and Means Committee for further scrutiny.
  • Full floor vote expected in the fall.

The number of states offering legalized and regulated sports betting to bettors in the United States is set to grow thanks to a recent advancement in the quest to have the activity legalized in Michigan. Last Tuesday, the state’s lawmakers advanced three related sports betting bills, a move that marks one of the earliest steps in the long process of bringing sportsbooks to the state.

House Bill 4916 (HB 4916) was the first and central bill and it seeks to legalize mobile and in-person sports betting in Michigan. Fortunately, it sailed smoothly through the regulatory committee garnering a total of 11 votes in its favor – only two votes were casts against it with two other members of the committee opting not to vote.

The bill would permit the establishment of legal and regulated sportsbooks at the state’s three commercial casinos and around 20 or more Native American casinos. According to the bill, the commercial casino will be subject to an 11.25 percent tax rate on their sports betting revenue while the tribal casinos will part with an 8 percent tax on the operations. Also included in the bill is a provision that will allow each of the sports betting licensees to take bets through a single online partner site otherwise referred to as a “skin”.

The other two bills that were advanced alongside HB 4916 simply complemented various aspects of the central bill. Some of the things they cover include the procedures for prosecuting parties that will have violated the gambling laws.

What Next?

The next stop for the gambling laws is the Ways and Means Committee where the bills will go through further scrutiny. A number of aspects will be considered at this stage and if the committee passes it, the next stop will be the full House floor. After the House evaluated the bill, a full floor vote is likely to follow sometime in the fall after which it will need to pass the Senate and finally be signed into law by the state’s governor.

While the sports gambling bill seems to be making progress, nothing is cast in stone and we should be ready for anything. Sports betting bills in Michigan have in the past had a difficult time finding enough legislative support in the past. Last year, a sports betting bill made it to the Gov. Rick Snyder’s officers but he chose to ax it in the last minute despite the fact that the bill had received a lot of support from the lawmakers.

Now, Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan’s current governor has made it clear that she is not very convinced about the benefits of legalizing online gambling. There is a little hope though as she has pointed out that she will be willing to consider the new bill if a higher tax rate is suggested.

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