Michigan online gambling bill clears first hurdle

Michigan took another step toward legalizing online gambling in the state earlier this week.

It’s been a long road to legalization for Michigan, which looked like it had reached the end of the road late last year. That was right before former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder upended it all by vetoing a bill that had easily passed the House and Senate.

Despite Snyder’s unexpected veto, Michigan legislators are trying again during the most recent sitting. Michigan Rep. Brandt Iden, who also filed the previous bill calling for legalization, introduced Bill 4311, known as the 2019 Lawful Internet Gaming Act earlier this year.

The Act would legalize all forms of online gambling (including poker) in Michigan and tax revenue at eight per cent.

Bill 4311 was argued at a House Regulatory Reform Committee hearing last week, where it received support from Michigan casino owners and former Poker Alliance President John Pappas. The Committee voted on the bill this week and it easily passed by a vote of 13-1.

What’s next for Michigan online gambling bill? 

The next stop for Bill 4311 will be the Ways and Means Committee, of which Iden is the Chair. If it passes through that Committee, which is it expected to do so easily, it would move on to the House and then the Senate.

Based on the feedback to the bill and the fact that a similar bill easily passed the House and Senate last year Bill 4311 is expected to easily pass through both chambers.

If that happens, it would once again find its way in front of the Governor. Thankfully, for Iden, it won’t be Rick Snyder again. His term in the Governor’s chair ended just days after he vetoed the previous bill.

Taking his place was Governor Gretchen Whitman. She hasn’t publicly stated her position on online gambling, but Iden has said he has had positive conversations with the new governor and he expects her to not follow Snyder’s lead.