Online Poker, Gambling Legislation Faces Little Opposition In Michigan Hearing

Michigan Online Gambling Bill Easily Clears First Committee Vote

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A bill that would legalize online poker and gambling in Michigan made it past a committee vote in the Senate on Wednesday.

What happened for Michigan online poker

The online gambling legislation — SB 889 — was considered by the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee during a hearing.

According to the Poker Players Alliance, that committee approved the bill 8-1. That result was not shocking, as a number of co-sponsors of the bill sit on that committee.

The bill was reportedly changed, per GamblingCompliance:

The new language does not yet appear on tracking for the bill online.

What’s next for Michigan iPoker?

The legislation now heads to the Senate floor, again per GamblingCompliance.

Michigan’s legislature is scheduled to adjourn later this month; the statehouse is still working on a final version of the state budget.

With short time left, it’s difficult to handicap if the bill can get to the finish line, especially given the fact that there has been no real chatter regarding online gambling in the House of Representatives.

One very interested party — MGM Resorts — has a casino in the state: MGM Grand Detroit. MGM has emerged as a vocal lobbyist and cheerleader for online gambling.

How did we get here in Michigan?

Momentum ramped up quickly this spring for iPoker legislation:

The state already has legal online lottery games.

Will 2016 be the year that someone passes online poker legislation?

Right now, there are more states seriously considering online gambling regulation than ever before, in attempt to join New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware as legalized jurisdictions:

Is progress for online gambling legalization potentially reaching critical mass, to the point that at least one of these states will pass a law this year?

Given the momentum in Michigan and elsewhere, it’s starting to seem like it would be a disappointment if none of these states flip the switch on iGaming.

- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. He has played poker recreationally for his entire adult life and has written about poker since 2008.
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