Michigan Online Gaming Advances
Michigan online gaming is up for consideration
Michigan adds itself to the list of states moving to approve internet gaming. On Thursday, Michigan online gaming Bills SB 889 and SB 890, introduced by Senator Mike Kowall (R-15), were forwarded to the senate floor for consideration by the Regulatory Reform Committee.
SB 889 and SB 890 work in tandem to legalize Michigan online gaming activities throughout the state. In such, the Act would establish the Division of Internet Gaming to oversee the execution of the Internet Gaming Act. The gaming activities, conducted by no more than eight casino licensees or Michigan Indian tribes, would require licensees to operate a gaming facility within the state. This requirement is similar to that seen in other states. It also imposes a 10% tax on gross gaming revenues which is expected to be a big boost, once rolled out, to the state budget. Internet gaming would include casino games as well as poker.
Up For Debate
At an informational hearing in May, both sides presented arguments in support of and against the new act. Proponents of the act point to successes in other states such as Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey. The safety and privacy of legalized online activities is more beneficial to the people of Michigan than the untethered activities that are currently active in the state. Further, the added revenues and tangential promotional benefit to the land based casinos is much needed. All three of Michigan’s bricks and mortar facilities are struggling financially. Opponents point to the degradation in community if gambling can be conducted anywhere. A problem ambler is never out of reach of play. The Governor’s office expressed concern over the ability to play outside of Michigan’s borders. Most other states restrict play to within their borders. The Tribal community also had concerns about the requirement of partial waver of sovereignty.
The land based casinos in the state remained quiet on the issue. MGM, a proponent of internet gaming activities in the past, remained silent on their position. The additional boost, if proportional to that of New Jerseys gaming receipts, would be expected to exceed $165 million.