Online gambling is once again on the table in the state of Michigan after State Senator Mike Kowall introduced a new online casino measure titled The Lawful Internet Gaming Act this week. The new legislation would provide the state with the ability to offer online gaming including iPoker.
Last year, a similar measure was introduced in the state and gained traction in the Michigan Senate Regulatory Reform Committee. However, the measure would be unable to move forward. This year, Kowall hopes to see the new bill pass with flying colors, and he already has the support of other Senate Committee members.
Kowall is on the Senate Committee and has secured five co-sponsors for the measure who are also on the committee. These members include Marty Knollenberg, Bert Johnson, Rick Jones, Curtis Hertel and Rebekah Warren. There are only nine members on the Senate Committee so counting those involved with the measure, the bill will most likely move forward to the next stage of legislature.
The language of the bill is similar to the one introduced last year including calling for state regulators to set rules and regulations for licensing and operation of iGambling sites. This process is to be completed within one year of the bill being signed into law.
Also covered in the measure is the fact that online gambling licenses will be offered to licensed casinos of the state. This would include such gaming venues as Greektown Casino Hotel and the MotorCity Casino & Hotel. According to a report at OnlinePokerReport, the new legislation does not seem to have a cap on the number of licenses that will be available. The Lawful Internet Gaming Act also includes the option for Michigan to sign interstate compacts in order to work with other states and jurisdictions in shared player liquidity.
Information on licensing fees and tax rates are also included in the new bill with operators paying $200,000 for the first year with approval of online gambling licensing followed by $100,000 for each year after. Licenses obtained by the platform provider will have an initial cost of $100,000 for the first year and $50,000 a year for the following four. This license also has a five year time frame. For vendors, licensing will have a five year time frame as well and will cost $5,000 in upfront payments and $2,500 each year thereafter.
The bill has reportedly been referred to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee with the Poker Players Alliance announcing via Twitter that the measure will be subject to a hearing and voted upon next week.