Michigan Lawmaker To Introduce Online Gambling Measure

In addition to a sports betting bill, Michigan state Rep. Brandt Iden is sponsoring the Michigan Lawful Internet Gaming Act. The legislation had bipartisan support last year but was vetoed by former Governor Rick Snyder. Iden said he hopes Governor Gretchen Whitmer will sign the measure into law by this summer.

Michigan state Rep. Brandt Iden, sponsor of a sports betting bill, said he also plans to hold a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee on the Michigan Lawful Internet Gaming Act the first week in May and have the online gambling law signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer this summer.

The online casino legislation had bipartisan support last year but former Governor Rick Snyder vetoed it just before his term ended. Observers said Whitmer is concerned about the impact of online gambling on tribal casinos, who have revenue-sharing compacts with the state. However, Iden’s bill would allow the tribes to offer internet gambling, regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board—the first arrangement of its kind in the U.S.

Iden said the Whitmer administration is doing its “due diligence” regarding tribal support. “The Administration is new to this. They are going through and meeting with the tribes to make sure they are comfortable with it,” Iden said.

Under Iden’s bill, online gaming revenue would be taxed at a lower rate than brick-and-mortar gaming revenue. The three Detroit casinos recently posted record gaming revenue for a single month. But Iden noted he’s open to negotiating with the governor on the taxes, acknowledging gambling tax revenue affects education funding. He denied online gambling would cannibalize gaming revenue from the Detroit casinos, noting casino patrons and online gamblers are “two different type of players.”

Iden said there’s “a lot of momentum” right now for online gambling in Michigan.