This time last year, the governor’s signature was far from a perfunctory last step in legalizing online gambling and sports betting in Michigan.
The calendar year 2018 ended with lame-duck Gov. Rick Snyder vetoing an expansive online gambling bill which had cleared the legislature with broad bipartisan support. The calendar year 2019 will end on a much happier note.
Moments ago, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law the largest expansion of gambling the state has ever seen. The new law makes Michigan the fifth state to legalize online casino, the sixth state to legalize online poker, and the 20th to legalize sports betting.
For good measure, the Michigan bill also regulates daily fantasy sports.
The legislature approved the package last Wednesday as the House concurred with minor changes in the Senate. In order to gain the support of Whitmer, the amended language contains higher taxes on online gambling than originally proposed. It also allows for:
Read more about the MI sports betting provisions on Legal Sports Report.
Pennsylvania is already setting a high bar when it comes to expectations for what Michigan online poker could be.
It is important to note, though, that a clause in the bill that would have directly facilitated interstate compacting did not end up in the final version. While there is potentially some legal wiggle room to compact for online poker with other states, it is not expressly guaranteed in the new law.
Given that lawmakers told OPR the removal was intended to address multi-state progressive slot jackpots, however, it does not appear that lawmakers and regulators are expressly against the idea of compacting.
Such an allowance for multi-state poker could ultimately make or break the Michigan poker market in the long term. The Wolverine State is barely larger than New Jersey by population, and NJ online poker is barely staying afloat despite pooling players with Nevada and Delaware.
Here’s the enrolled version of H 4311, the bill that legalized online poker in Michigan.Michigan HB 4311 Enrolled