Just one day after a legislative hearing regarding the legalization of online gambling in Pennsylvania was held, a bill that would also legalize iGaming in the state of Michigan was approved by the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee on Wednesday, according to according to Online Poker Report.
In a 7-1 vote, the Michigan Senate approved moving S. 203 to the full Senate floor. The almost unanimous vote, however, came as little surprise as State Senator Mike Kowall (R-White Lake) introduced a bill (SB 889) in April last year that would legalize and regulate online gambling, but the bill failed to reach a vote. The bill was similar to iGaming bills introduced in other states, with the exception of limiting the number of licenses.
While Wednesday’s outcome may have been easily predicted, it is still a step in the right direction for proponents of online gambling in The Great Lakes State. A new series of iGaming bills was introduced by Kowall just last week. The Senator managed to secure five co-sponsors for the measure who are also on the committee.
The hearing in Michigan featured some of the same witnesses, including the Poker Players Alliance, PokerStars’ parent company Amaya, and the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, as the one in The Keystone State a day earlier. In the case of the Pennsylvania hearing, however, the state’s gaming tribes were almost entirely present to voice their objection to the bill.
Commercial casinos and several gaming tribes in Michigan, meanwhile, made their stand on the legislation known via committee chair Sen. Tory Rocca, who toward the end of the hearing, read cards indicating as much. In the case of the state’s tribes, they were either almost entirely opposed to the measure or had no comment.
MGM Grand Detroit, meanwhile, maintained a neutral status, according to the report.
Issues including whether existing land-based casino revenue could be cannibalized by online gambling, and the possibility of a tax rate as low as 14 percent resulting in casinos moving away from their brick-and-mortar operations, were brought to the forefront of the hearing on March 7 in Pennsylvania, according to Online Poker Report.
David Satz, Senior Vice President, Government Relations & Development at Caesars Entertainment Corporation, who testified at the hearing, noted that in the state right now, online casinos exist, which are unregulated and provide nothing in the way of consumer protections or tax revenue. Rep. George Dunbar and the Poker Players Alliance reiterated that.
Currently, three states including Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey have made online gambling legal.