March 13, 2019 3 min read


Michigan’s Online Gambling Bill Clears House Hearing

Michigan’s woes to legalize online gambling and poker continue. The goal was within grasp before outgoing Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a largely successful bill and set progress back a few months. Now, new efforts have been made.

House Regulatory Committee Kickstarts Michigan Gambling Bill Again

Michigan’s saga of legalizing its online gambling is well-documented one, spanning the course of several years and multiple attempts to bring events to a meaningful conclusion for the fans of iGaming and online poker.

The most successful project to date was Rep. Brandt Iden’s H 4926 which managed to clear all legal hurdles in 2018, only to be slammed down in the office of now former Governor Rick Snyder.

Many had got their hopes about entering 2019 with a legalized online poker industry in the books, but Mr. Snyder’s position proved disappointing.

None of this matters as of this moment, though as Mr. Ident and a fellow Senator Curtis Hertel submitted a pair of bills modeled after H 4926 in both legislative bodies. The first challenge came when Sen. Hertel’s bill had to clear the House Regulatory Reform Committee.

It did so with flying colors.

Michigan Sees Hopes for Legalized Online Gambling

Last year, both the House and Senate passed Mr. Iden’s bill with a strong majority. In the House, 71 delegates backed Mr. Ident’s plan for a legal industry whereas 33 Senators gave their support for the bill.

The House hearing was an important weathervane to gauge whether the support has been temporarily or a lasting phenomenon able to offer plans for legal online gambling and poker a chance at success in 2019.

The Committee asked a number of questions pertaining to the potential economic windfall for Michigan, taxation, licensing, and understandably – upholding the best practices to keep players safe.

While land-based casinos haven’t always been too excited about online gambling, especially in the case of tribal operators, the hearing was attended by representatives of established brands, including:

  • MGM
  • Motor City
  • Greektown

Bringing Michigan Gambling Up to Speed and Addressing the Challenges Ahead

The hearing was productive, highlighting several areas of developments and reasons to introduce an online gambling law.
According to Nick Menas, a representative by Canadian gaming company The Stars Group and owner of PokerStars, Michigan needs to expand into the online segment to be in touch with developments worldwide.

It was also said that the Committee shouldn’t have any worries about players from other states circumnavigating active laws and trying to play online from across the state border. To convince lawmakers that the technologies work, GeoComply’s John Pappas took a live demo of NJ online gaming activity.

The Committee meeting was indeed a productive one with lawmakers and industry representatives prepared to bring valuable knowledge to the table and provide real answers to pressing problems.

This first victory is important for online gambling in Michigan and it means that players can realistically expect further progress.
Apart from the legal hurdles, there is also Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to convince. Although Gov. Whitmer’s stance towards gambling isn’t openly warm, there’s little evidence to suggest that she would try to strike down a piece of legislation enjoying a broad bi-partisan approval.


Simon is a freelance writer who specializes in gambling news and has been an author in the poker/casino scene for 10+ years. He brings valuable knowledge to the team and a different perspective, especially as a casual casino player.

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