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Michigan Poised To Become Fifth State To Legalize Online Gambling

Bill Still Needs To Be Signed By Governor

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The state of Michigan has closed its legislative session with a last-minute vote on HB4926, a bill that would legalize online gambling including casino games, online poker, and eventually sports betting. In the early hours of the morning, the bill passed by a tally of 33-5.

The piece of legislation still needs to be signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, but would make Michigan the fifth state to legalize online gambling, joining Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and most recently Pennsylvania.

Assuming the Governor makes it official, commercial and tribal gaming operators in the state will soon be able to apply for licenses, which will cost $200,000 for five years, with a $100,000 renewal fee. Michigan will tax just 8 percent of gross gaming revenue, the majority of which will go to state funds.

Perhaps most exciting for those in already-legal states, the bill allows for inter-state cooperation. New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware can already share player pools. Michigan’s population of 10 million would nearly double it.

Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition To Stop Internet Gambling weighed in on the bill’s progress, stating that they hope Gov. Snyder vetoes it.

“While we’re disappointed in the legislature’s action, we’re hopeful the governor will put Michigan school revenue, the needs of addicts and family safety ahead of online casino special interests and veto the measure when it reaches his desk,” the group said in a statement.

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, however, explained that Michiganders were going to gamble online anyway, so the state might as well benefit from it and “make sure the money stays in Michigan.”

An earlier version of the bill passed the House this summer, but was ultimately held up by tribal casino concerns and the impact of online gambling on Detroit tax revenue.