Dormant since January, the Lawful Internet Gaming Act made it through the Michigan House by a margin of 68-40 on Tuesday, the last day of the legislative session.
Sponsored by Rep. Brandt Iden, the proposal would allow the state’s casinos to obtain licensure to offer most forms of internet gambling, including sports gambling and online poker.
House Bill 4926 would enable Detroit’s three casinos including MGM Grand, Greektown and MotorCity, to offer internet gaming as soon as 2019. If the bill is passed, the same games currently allowed in brick-and-mortar casinos including poker, roulette, blackjack and craps, along with sports betting, would all be accessible online, Iden told the Detroit Free Press.
The rep also reportedly told the newspaper that the tax revenue derived from online gambling would be split four ways, with the city of Detroit receiving 55 percent, followed by the Internet Gaming Fund, which would receive 45 percent and would administer the online gambling program, with transportation and school aid each receiving five percent.
Michigan’s 23 tribal casinos would reportedly also be able to offer online gambling, so long as compacts are either created or amended.
Other highlights of the bill include:
• Provisions for multi-jurisdictional agreements
• Imposes an eight-percent tax on internet gambling revenue
• Requires gaming equipment to be physically located within a Michigan casino
• Dictates a one-year waiting period for launch
• Must be 21 or older to participate
• Each application and 5-year licensure would cost $800,000 in total
The legislation, which was first introduced by Iden in September, also creates the framework for legal sports betting, said Iden, but it [sports betting] would need to be legalized statewide by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
He told the newspaper, “The gaming commission is looking for the Legislature to take the initial step,“ and that, “they have the parameters to do it, but one of the things we need to set up is that tax rate.”
Michigan residents will likely have to wait until this fall when lawmakers return to the capital to find out if the state’s tribal casino operators are on board and when exactly the Senate will take up the bill.
“When we come back in the fall,” said Iden, “this is going to be at the top of the agenda. Michigan should be at the forefront of that.”
The vote by the House follows the May 14, 2018 decision by the Supreme Court that declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional.