Michigan sports betting and iGaming bills head to Governor’s desk

Lawmakers in the US state of Michigan have approved a package of bills that would regulate sports betting and online gaming.

The last session day of the state legislature saw a package of gambling-related bills sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for approval following passage by the Senate Wednesday.

Representative Brandt Iden, who has been leading reform efforts for three years and is lead sponsor of the bills, said that the legislation included important consumer protections and would modernize Michigan’s gaming laws to incorporate sports betting and evolving technology.

“It’s been a long journey to move sports betting and casino-style gaming into a regulated, safe and modern environment – but the end is in sight, and with it a great opportunity for Michigan will begin,” Iden said. “First and foremost, our reforms will protect the thousands of Michigan residents already wagering online. They will be able to play on safe, regulated sites and use modern technology such as mobile apps.

“These reforms also will benefit Michigan’s economy and provide additional revenue for our schools and local communities – revenue that now goes to other states, or out of the country. It’s a win-win situation – and we simply cannot delay these reforms any longer. Delay has put our residents at risk and left our state falling behind Indiana, Illinois and others moving to capitalize on a growing trend.”

The measures provide a regulatory framework for sports betting with a competitive tax rate of 8.4 per cent of adjusted gross sports betting receipts.

Online casino and sports betting would be available to players 21 and older through land-based casinos already operating in Michigan, including Detroit’s three casinos and tribal casinos across the state.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board would regulate online gaming with built-in safety features such as age verification systems and protections against fraud. In-play sports betting would be allowed but must be settled using official data provided by professional sports leagues such as the NFL and NBA.

The legislation also directs a portion of gross iGaming and sports betting revenue to improve essential public services, the majority of which would go to Michigan’s public schools.

Safeguards will also be put in place to protect and grow education funding, including a provision to ensure online games offered by casinos do not directly compete with games offered by the Michigan Lottery.

“This is a reform Michigan residents clearly want because they’re already wagering in other states or on illegal websites,” Iden concluded. “Our state will no longer miss out on business, and our schools will no longer miss out on revenue. I am thankful for the bipartisan support these reforms have received in the Legislature as Michigan proves we can work together to foster economic growth and protect residents.”

The package of bills approved by the legislature includes House Bills 4307 – 4312; 4323; 4173; 4916 – 4918, and also deals with fantasy sports, charitable gaming, and horse racing.


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