Michigan is heading into a decisive moment for the online gambling future of the state with the backing of the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives.
Legalised Online Gambling Betting Could Be on its Way to Michigan.
This week, the Ways and Means Committee of Michigan’s House of Representatives approved Brandt Iden’s online casino and sports betting bills. In a couple of days, they will be debated at the House and there could potentially be a vote.
It has been a long road to get here in Michigan’s gambling market. While the state has always had fairly open laws regarding gambling, many politicians have had trouble selling the idea of legalising online casino games.
Last year, former Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a legislation that would make online gambling legal. It was thought that it would be quite some time before another bill would make any progress – but, it has been very long. It’s not even a year later and Iden’s bill has gained approval.
When Iden originally proposed his bill earlier this year, online gambling and betting were included in a single bill. However, he split them up in September, as he believed that passing regulated online betting as its own bill would be easier.
“This is really about updates. This is about the future of the industry. This is about making sure Michigan stays competitive.”
While most lawmakers in Michigan are supportive of the bill, the governor is still dubious. Gretchen Whitmer has concerns that residents would no longer play the state lottery if online gambling is legalised. However, both New Jersey and Nevada have proven that online casinos won’t cannibalize the land-based gaming market.
The legislation introduces an online gaming tax. It is lower than what brick-and-mortar casinos pay, requiring operators to contribute 8% of their online gambling revenue.
The operators that are able to offer online gaming activities are the three state-licensed casinos and the 23 tribal casinos.
The legalisation and regulation of online gambling in Michigan has the potential to bring in some very generous tax revenue for the state. Based on how New Jersey’s online gambling market has performed, Michigan’s online casinos could generate $54.8 million for state programs.
How Would Online Gambling Work in Michigan?
Based on what we know so far about online gambling in Michigan, it’s likely to be a similar model to how it works in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The casinos in the state that already have licenses will be able to apply for online licenses that will allow them to operate gaming sites.
Then, they will team up with established online gaming operators who will provide them with the software necessary to offer digital casino games to players across the state.
As is the case with all regulated gambling markets, Michigan’s online casinos would only be available to individuals located in the state and of the state’s legal gambling age. Geolocation technology would be used to verify where the players are and identification checks will be done to confirm that the player is indeed above the age of 21.
But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves now. There is still a long way to go before online gambling is fully legalised and regulated. The bill will have to pass several more votes – and, we’ll keep you updated along the way.