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Michigan House Passes Online Gambling Legislation For Poker, Sports Betting

State Senate To Consider Gambling Expansion In The Fall

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Lawmakers in the Michigan House on Tuesday passed legislation to regulate online casino games and sports betting within the state.

The online gaming bill, H4926, moved to the Senate thanks to a 68-40 vote. Under the bill, the state’s commercial and tribal casinos could bring their games to cyberspace.

According to a report from The Detroit News, the legislation is likely to be considered by the Senate in the fall. Michigan has been close in the past to legalizing online betting, but proposals weren’t able to gain enough traction late in the year.

Republican State Rep. Iden, the man spearheading the efforts, told Card Player in an interview last fall that he was optimistic about the bill in 2017. However, efforts were delayed thanks to the complexities of reforming the state’s existing gambling industry.

“We know that people are gaming on the internet in Michigan, in fact so much so that—I have a university very close to me—when I talk to college students and I ask them if they play online, they say that they play poker online and that they don’t realize it’s illegal in the state,” Iden said.

The hope is that 2018 will be different for efforts to regulate and tax the games.

“[T]he desire at the federal level to enact a nationwide ban on internet gambling is waning,” said a House analysis of the legislation. “Coupled with the recent Supreme Court decision allowing states to offer sports betting, it is the right time for Michigan to enact laws to allow and regulate online gambling. Some say the argument whether to allow or prohibit online gambling is moot.”

PokerStars’ parent company supported the legislation as late as last year. MGM Grand Detroit supported “the concept of the bills” in early May. Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts is a proponent of online gaming in various states, including Michigan and New York.

Under the proposed law, online gaming revenues would be subjected to an eight percent tax.