After oral argument in the United States Supreme Court last week in Christie v NCAA, the legal culmination of New Jersey’s fight to bring sports betting into the state, more than a dozen other states are looking to get into the possible sports betting market. But lawmakers in many of the states, including Michigan, have work to do.
Michigan is among the states with legislation passed or pending on sports betting — either preemptive bills that would allow wagering under certain regulatory parameters such as in Pennsylvania, or a bill such in Connecticut, which tasked a state commission to outline a regulatory framework for sports betting in anticipation of PASPA being overturned.
PASPA is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act , the 1992 federal law that has effectively banned sports wagering outside Nevada, the constitutionality of which is the subject of New Jersey’s case against the NCAA and pro sports leagues in the Supreme Court.
Michigan Has Existing Casinos And A Sports Betting Bill Waiting In Event of PASPA Getting Struck, But Bill Remains In Committee
In a story published by the Detroit News on Tuesday, the paper reports that Detroit casinos are poised to take advantage of the opportunity, however, a trio of bills introduced in the Michigan House Representative Robert Kosowski (D-16th District) earlier this year remain hung up in the Committee of Regulatory Reform.
So, what now? According to the Detroit News, “The proposed legislation faces an uncertain future in the Republican-run legislature.”
Apparently there’s a lack of traction or opposition to what appears to be a no-brainer measure. Michigan like other states could prepare to bolster is tax revenue on activity already occurring illegally, and drive traffic to its existing casinos. There are casinos all over the state and three in Detroit, including the MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino Hotel. Currently there are Michiganders who drive right over the bridge and border to Canada and wager on sports at the Caesars Windsor Ontario.
Estimates of potential tax revenue widely. A lot of people and stakeholders need to temper their expectations, actually, as explained by Las Vegas legendary executive Vic Salerno. Sports betting is a relatively low-margin game compared to slots and table games, but sports wagering brings people in for restaurants, retail, hotel stays and more.
Of course, there’s “A lot of upside for those entities [that offer sports betting], which, in turn, will likely lead to more tax revenue for the states,” Kosowski said. And that’s a major thrust of the opportunity.
It makes little sense to delay. Sports betting is already occurring illegally on a massive scale and in a state like Michigan with the existing infrastructure, and experienced operators like MGM, it’s a clear way to elevate tax revenue and boost existing businesses without having to levy any new taxes on citizens.
Apparently in Michigan, you just need to call your Republican congressperson.