Michigan Debates Bill That Would Legalize Online GamingBy Brett Smiley | Published: September 14, 2017 at 1:23 pm
On Wednesday Michigan’s House of Representatives held hearings regarding House Bill 4926 of 2017, which would allow online online gambling in the Great Lakes State and provide for appropriate rules, oversight and protections. HB 4926 would give the state one year to execute a framework outlined by the act. The bill is similar to a state senate measure (SB 203) introduced earlier this year that also contemplated licensure for Native American tribes.
Former Attorney General Backs Michigan Bill Bill That Would Legalize Online Gaming
Only residents 21 years or older would be allowed to play, according to the bill, and a new division for online gaming could issue a license only to applicants possessing a license through the Michigan gaming control board.
At Wednesday’s hearing, former Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox expressed support for both measures, saying “this will lead to increased revenue at the same time protecting consumers.” Cox pointed to the success of New Jersey’s expansion into online gaming, per the Detroit News.
The Press of Atlantic City reported, also on Wednesday, that including online gambling revenue, overall casino gambling revenue for the city’s seven casinos rose 5.5 percent in August year-over-year.
Already three states — New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada — have legalized online gaming and Pennsylvania is making a push like Michigan. But this week’s hearing was only a first step in Michigan.
“Market forces have changed,” said HB 4926’s sponsor Brandt Iden. “The economy has changed and the way people seek entertainment has changed and … the way gaming is done in our state will change. Today starts the conversation. There’s no intent for an immediate vote on these bills.”
And to be sure: this bill does not mention sports betting. It concerns casino-style table games, slots and the like. But the legislative push is illustrative of growing acceptance of gambling and the belief that states are capable of effectively regulating online gaming.