Sports Betting and Online Gambling could be on their way to Michigan
by Glenn Baird - December 10, 2019
By the end of this week there is good chance that sports betting and internet gambling will be given the go-ahead in Michigan.
The Great Lake State, once known as the centre of US car manufacturing, could soon become known more for their gambling laws than for their Mustangs and Vipers. There are already three commercial casinos in Detroit alone, with an additional 24 Native American casinos throughout the whole state of Michigan. Add an online and sports betting market and soon enough the state could find itself the centre for gambling in America’s cold north east.
However, there are objections to the move, most notably from those with a vested interest in state’s land-based casinos, who believe that the introduction of online gambling will have a negative impact on their business.
Michigan also operates a lucrative online lottery, that the state makes substantial profit from. Just now, much of the money spent on lottery tickets finds its way into state schools (an amount close to 1 billion dollars) and there is a fear that with a wider breadth of online gambling opportunities that punters may take their money elsewhere, something that could have a significant impact on the quality of educational provision in Michigan.
The state governor has working on a solution, that will most likely involve a high rate of tax for online operators in order to off-shoot the potential losses that a reduction in lottery ticket sales could bring.
Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., an East Lansing Democrat has said, “I believe we’ve made a lot of progress with stakeholders and the administration on coming to an agreement,”
“The administration had some real concerns and we took those into account. We’re going to make sure that the school aid fund is healthy going forward.”
Rep. Brandt Iden, a Republican from Kalamazoo County’s Oshtemo Township is one of the big supporters of the bill, pushing for the introduction of legal online gambling operators in an effort to reduce the influence of the black market. He also went on to say that there is money being made and that he believes the wrong people are profiting:
“If we don’t do something to make sure that we are competitive in that marketplace, we are going to lose out,” he said, noting that sports betting is underway in Indiana and has been legalized by Illinois. “The longer we delay on this frankly is another day that we miss out on a dollar.”
In 2018 the new legislation was passed in the US to allow individual states to legalise sports betting, something that has been made legal in 6 states, with an additional 13 working to do the same.
The debate over levels of tax is part of what is holding up the process in Michigan but the main priority, according to Gov. Whitmer’s spokesperson is:
“Gov. Whitmer has made it clear that protecting revenues for schools is her top priority.”