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Michigan Online Gambling and DFS Bills Awaiting Senate Approval

Publish: 28.12.2018
In the coming weeks, Michigan could make online gambling and daily fantasy sports legal, but only if a set of proposals gets approved by the state’s Senate.

The author of these bills, which would completely remodel the state’s gambling industry, believes this could happen in the coming period.

Rep. Brandt Iden’s (pictured below) piece of legislation, also known as the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, was greenlighted by the House earlier this year, and if it manages to get the necessary support in the upper house, it would mark the beginning of a whole new era for the Great Lakes State.

Rep. Brandt Iden: Michigan Online Gambling and DFS Bills Awaiting Senate Approval

Deadline Approaching

In practice, the new legislature will enable the three commercial and more than 20 tribal casinos operating in the state to offer online casino games to their customers. But before this could happen, the bill needs to get approved by the Senate by December 20. That’s the last opportunity this piece of legislation has, as the legislative session comes to an end on this date.

It should be noted that lawmakers in Michigan made several attempts to make online gambling legal over the past few years, but they never managed to get past the legislature.

A couple of weeks ago, the state House adopted the new fantasy sports bill, which will now require the approval of the Senate. This piece of legislation is also sponsored by Rep. Iden. Speaking about why he insisted on two separate bills for daily fantasy sports and online gambling, he explained there was an important difference between the two, as fantasy sports was a game of skill and not of chance.

Under the provisions of the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, Michigan casinos will be allowed to operate their gambling websites, where they’ll be able to offer a variety of casino games. According to the proposal, gambling online would be taxed at 8%.

Increasing State’s Revenue

According to Iden, the legalisation of online gaming could significantly increase state’s revenue, although the recent analysis suggested it could have the opposite effect due to the disproportion in the tax rates with the land-based casinos.

Iden says this will not happen, as online gaming will help establish one or even more new markets and attract younger players.

But Iden doesn’t stop here, as he plans to introduce a comprehensive sports betting bill next year. That way, Michigan would join a number of states that made wagering on sports legal following the US Supreme Court’s ruling back in May.

The Lawful Internet Gaming Act tasks the Michigan Gaming Control Board with setting up a framework for online sports betting, but a separate bill is required to establish other important details.

To offer their services in Michigan, DFS operators will be required to pay a license fee of $50,000, along with an additional $20,000 on a yearly basis to renew their licenses. Iden says such high fees will encourage only serious operators to get the piece of the action.

However, it’s most likely only the two biggest names in the daily fantasy sports industry – DraftKings and FanDuel – will be the only one able to pay these fees, which would discourage smaller DFS operators from entering Michigan’s market.