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The Pennsylvania legislature’s session came to an end on Wednesday. And the online gambling bill that has passed the House of Representatives not once but twice is still awaiting action by the Senate.
But Pennsylvania wasn’t online gambling’s only hope in 2016, as another sizable state has led an understated effort to get legislation across the finish line.
For online gambling, the other is Michigan.
In April, Michigan State Senator Mike Kowall introduced SB 889, a bill that would legalize and regulate online gambling.
The bill was similar to online gambling bills introduced in other states, with only one minor deviation, in that the number of licenses would be limited. This number was later revised down to just three licenses in the most recent version of the bill.
Other critical components of the bill as follows:
One interesting provision reads, “Allow a wager to be accepted from an individual not physically present in the State if certain conditions were met.” Presumably, this is a means of opening the door for Michigan to forge interstate compacts with other states down the line.
Click here to view all the particulars of the bill.
On May 4, the Michigan Regulatory Reform Committee held an informational hearing on online gambling and SB 889.
The hearing saw representatives from the Poker Players Alliance and PokerStars discuss some of the benefits of online gambling legalization. Also discussed were the methods and technology online poker sites have in place to ensure they are in compliance with the regulations governing the industry.
On June 9, SB 889 and a substitute bill were “reported favorably” by the Regulatory Reform Committee by a vote of 8-1, and referred to the Committee of the Whole – a parliamentary term for the whole chamber becoming a de facto committee capable of working on the bill.
In effect, SB 889 could be passed by the Senate at any time.
With the session winding down, SB 889 is back in the spotlight, and advocates are hoping a late push will get the bill across the finish line.
From the outset, Senator Kowall has stated that the most likely path forward for SB 889 would be at the tail end of the session, post-election. As late as October, Kowall’s office was still bullish on the bill’s chances of passing in 2016.
Here’s what the legislature is working with:
For the House of Representatives to have time to do its due diligence, and likely debate and whip up support for the measure, it’s imperative for the Senate to pass the online gambling bill as soon as possible.
Although, it’s impossible to know how much behind the scenes talk has taken place in either chamber over the past six months.
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