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Just one week after Michigan legislators pushed through an online gambling bill in a late-night legislative session, the bill is dead.
All it needed was Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature. However, Snyder elected to veto the bill. This effectively ends Michigan online gambling hopes until the next legislative session.
After Michigan lawmakers burned all that midnight oil pushing around 400 new bills through to Snyder’s desk, he undid much of that work with a rash of vetoes.
The online gambling bill was one of 40 bills Snyder vetoed, according to Detroit News. In fact, every gaming-related bill sponsored by Rep. Brandt Iden got the ax.
When asked why he acted against online gambling, Snyder claimed a lack of clarity regarding budgeting and revenue was the issue.
In a letter to the legislature, Snyder cited the potential cannibalization of existing land-based casinos and the state’s online lottery as his primary concerns.
It is worth pointing out that New Jersey has brought in nearly $1 billion in gaming revenue since launching in 2013. That number does not include the nascent online sports betting industry either.
Snyder said protecting the Michigan Lottery influenced his decision making. Currently, Pennsylvania is the only state with both online lottery and online gaming laws on the books. However, only the PA iLottery is operational, so there is no concrete numbers regarding how online lottery and online casino gambling impact each other.
The late December legislative session was a lame-duck one, and the last of the year. The new class of lawmakers kicks off the 2019 session on Jan. 9.
At that point, there will also be a new governor in office. Gretchen Whitmer will be sworn in on Jan. 1. The Democrat supported Michigan sports betting during her campaign. However, her stance on online gambling is not as clear-cut.
Iden, the driving force behind gambling expansion, intends to continue trying to push a bill into law. The newly appointed chair of the Ways And Means Committee told Online Poker Report that pushing the bill again will be a process. There are new lawmakers taking office that need to be educated on the issue.
With a 15-month moratorium before any Michigan online casinos can launch in the current iteration of the bill, that means it will likely be 2021 at the earliest before Michigan residents can play online.