Lawmaker Expects Michigan Online Gambling Bill ‘Gets To The Governor’s Desk Before The End Of The Year’

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WASHINGTON  A key Michigan lawmaker expects to have an online gambling bill on the governor’s desk before the calendar turns to 2019. The question is whether that’s an overly optimistic timeline.

During the US Sports Betting Policy Summit on Thursday, state Rep. Brandt Iden said he’s been working with his Senate colleagues to help pass a gaming bill during the state’s lame-duck session.

Michigan online casinos

Here is what Iden had to say:

“The online gaming piece, which was the initial bill I started before the repeal of PASPA  I certainly hope that it gets to the governor’s desk before the end of the year, and I expect that it probably will.”

Iden is the author of H 4926, a MI online gambling bill that is currently pending in the Senate’s Committee on Government Operations. It passed the House earlier this year.

The so-called Lawful Internet Gaming Act would permit the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to establish parameters for online sports betting.

The bill would also create the Division of Internet Gaming within the MGCB, charged with oversight of online casinos and online poker.

Addressing all Michigan stakeholders

Michigan has 12 legislative session days remaining in 2018  three in November and nine in December  leaving a relatively small window to get a bill passed through the Senate.

Bills do not carry over to odd years in Michigan, which complicates matters. This means should a bill fail to reach the governor’s desk this year, Iden would have to start the process all over again. He’s also said another bill, focusing on MI online sports betting, will be needed.

Iden also has his hands full addressing tribal and commercial gaming interests alongside the state lottery.

“I’m actually focused on what New Mexico has done with their most recent compact amendments to allow tribal gaming there with sports betting,” Iden said. “That’s going to be some of what we’ll have to implement in Michigan to ensure our tribal interests are met.”

Integrity fee language

One discussion that is expected to take place during next year’s legislative session is whether Iden’s new sports betting bill will include integrity/royalty fee language. The NBA and MLB have argued that states should pass laws that give them a direct cut of sports betting money via bookmakers.

Here is what Iden had to say:

“I think it should be part of the discussion. It’s very interesting for me because, when I sort of started looking at this, I was on the other side of the coin. After educating myself on the issue  I would see that it does need to be part of the discussion and I think we’ll see that in Michigan. I’m not sure what that’s going to look like yet, but there has to be a piece of that in there.”

No state, to date, has enacted such a fee.

It will be an interesting 12 days in Michigan as the state looks to join eight states that have some form of legal sports betting or will soon.

  • Nevada
  • Pennsylvania
  • Delaware
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia

Pennsylvania became the seventh state where legal sports betting occurs, as Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course began live wager testing Nov. 15.

- Nick comes from West Texas where he graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in psychology. After a five year stint in Chicago where he wrote about local politics and graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago, he moved to Washington, D.C. to write about issues related to gambling policy, sports betting and responsible gaming.
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