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Michigan Online Poker Regulation Still In Play For 2017

Legislation Introduced In The House Last Week


Michigan lawmakers will continue discussing the merits of regulating online casino games over the internet after a lawmaker introduced a new proposal last week.

State Rep. Brandt Iden, a Republican, introduced HB 4926 into the House. A bill in the Senate with the same intentions cleared a committee vote earlier this year.

The legislative proposals, advertised as consumer protection initiatives, would allow the three commercial casinos in Detroit and the nearly two dozen tribal casinos in the state to offer the games over the web. Internet gaming operations would be taxed at a 15 percent rate.

Online gaming is already widespread in Michigan, thanks to companies based outside of the U.S. offering games to residents. But Michigan isn’t getting any of the tax revenue.

“[I]t is in the best interest of this state and its citizens to regulate this activity by authorizing and establishing a secure, responsible, fair and legal system of internet gaming,” HB 4926 reads.

Earlier this year it was reported by that the Gun Lake and Pokagon Potawatomi tribes opposed the legislative proposal. Two of the Detroit casinos were on the fence.

There is still a lot of work to be done to get the gaming industry in Michigan on board with the idea. Rep. Iden is still confident, saying that it’s just a matter of time before Michigan has online gaming regulation, according to a report from the Detroit Free Press.

A hearing was held last week on Iden’s bill, but there wasn’t a vote taken.

In 2016, the online poker efforts were deemed dead in December, so there’s still plenty of time to work and make progress on the issue in the remaining months of 2017.

Online gaming has been pitched as a way to bolster the relatively stagnant gambling industry in the state. The three Detroit casinos win about $1.4 billion a year from gamblers, while the 23 tribal casinos win about $1.5 billion annually.

If Michigan pulls the trigger this year it would be the fourth state with regulated Las Vegas-style gaming over the web. The last state to do so was New Jersey in 2013.