As New Jersey continues its efforts to overturn the federal Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 and bring sportsbetting to its casinos, Michigan could now reportedly become the latest battleground in the fight for legalized nationwide sports wagering.
According to a report from Legal Sports Report, Robert Kosowski from the Michigan House Of Representatives has reintroduced proposed legislation that, if passed by both houses of the state legislature and signed into law by Republican governor Rick Snyder, could allow casinos in the state to offer wagering on sports.
“I understand the federal law prohibits [sports] gambling but I am the kind of guy that’s willing to take on the government,” Kosowski told Legal Sports Report.
Under PASPA, only the four states of Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon are permitted to offer sportsbetting but New Jersey has been fighting this prohibition since 2009 with little success despite receiving much needed support from West Virginia, Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana and Wisconsin.
Kosowski reportedly first introduced his proposed legislation in 2015 with little success although the measure did receive a committee hearing. The Wayne County Democrat declared that legalized sportsbetting could provide the state with a much needed revenue stream and substitute for more traditional sources of income such as increased gasoline duties.
“I just don’t want to keep going after our residents all the time when there are viable solutions out there,” Kosowski told Legal Sports Report. “This is a billion-dollar industry, just Michigan alone, by some of the small studies we have seen.”
Calling his measure a “work in progress”, Kosowski moreover explained that the legalization of sportsbetting would serve as a practical way of stopping illegal bookmakers.
“All we’re doing right now is keeping illegal bookmaking happening in our state when we could regulate it,” Kosowski told Legal Sports Report. “We could help people if they have problems when they gamble. They’re going to do it anyway, why not have people watching over it? I actually think the federal government will change something in the near future. I bang the drum of saying “Why is it legal to do in Vegas, why could Oregon have parlay cards? What made them so special?”. It should be equal everywhere. Are we going to do it next month? No but maybe next year.”