Michigan sets up online gambling legalisation for next year

News on 13 Dec 2017

The House Regulatory Reform Committee in Michigan has passed an online gambling legalisation bill on a vote of 12 vs. 3 with a single abstention in the closing hours of the current legislative session.

Although it is unlikely that bill H 4926 will make it to the floor before the session ends, under the Michigan constitution committee-approved measures do not have to go back to a new start, but can be rolled over into the next sitting of the Legislature,

The bill is the work of the committee’s chair, Rep. Brandt Iden, who introduced it in September this year (see previous report).

Since then the bill has seen some amendment to placate various interested parties and get them on board. It complements a Senate bill with similar objectives authored by Sen. Mike Kowall which unfortunately stalled at the last hurdle this year.

The committee also approved two companion bills; H4927 and H4828.

To get the measure through claims that it presented constitutional challenges, Iden accepted some key changes that included a provision that online gambling servers must be housed on licensed land casino premises in the state. That is intended to answer assertions that the bill represents an expansion of gambling, the argument being that online gambling will become simply another land casino product.

Another key change has been the proposed tax rate, reducing the original 15 percent of GGR to 10 percent in a move that will appeal to the state’s three land casino operators, who are reportedly already supportive of legalisation.

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