Now that the Supreme Court has struck down the federal law banning sports wagering outside Nevada, expect Michigan to be among the states to embrace the opportunity first. Just last week, representatives Brandt Iden and Bob Kosowski were eager to push forward with the four Michigan sports betting bills they have between them.
“With the Supreme Court decision, we’ve got a lot of moving pieces,” Iden told Sports Handle on Wednesday. “My first goal – my iGaming bill includes sports betting – is to move that out of the House first. That’s the one that we’ve made the most progress on.”
“I do see maybe at the start of football season, something’s possible,” Kosowski told MLive on Tuesday. “But we have to have a lot of workgroups, meet with the casinos in Detroit and the tribes. We’ve got to get everybody’s intake and go from there.”
Kosowski told Sports Handle last week that once the House puts together workgroups, legislation can move fast — in fact, he predicted that a law could be passed in the House within a month of the workgroups being set up.
But it’s unlikely Michigan will be taking sports bets by the fall.
iGaming Bill Would Allow Michigan Sports Betting and Could Get Onto the House Floor for a Vote Before the Summer Break.
While Iden agrees, he is quick to point out that his iGaming bill, HB 4926, which allows for sports betting at all currently-licensed casinos with accompanying online and mobile sports wagering, is only the first step. Multiple layers of legislation will be required before Michiganders can walk into a casino and lay down a sports bet.
The question is “what sort of legislation is required to put in place for the brick-and-mortar (casinos to have) sportsbooks?” Iden said. “What is needed for us to move forward?”
The answer is complex. Iden’s iGaming bill merely provides the legal framework to make sports betting legal – both at Detroit’s three commercial casinos and at the state’s many tribal casinos. Among the issues that will have to be considered in additional legislation and regulations is the tax rate and “shoring up” the idea that sportsbooks will only be allowed in existing licensed gaming venues.
Iden said that the current tax rate of 18 percent on gaming revenue in Michigan “doesn’t work” for sports betting. His iGaming bill brings that rate down to 8 percent for sports betting and he wants to make sure that any laws that are passed reflect that. (In Nevada, the state tax on sportsbook revenue is 6.75 percent.)
If Things Move Quickly, Representative Iden Would Expect That Michiganders Could Place Sports Bets in Early 2020.
So, while both Iden and Kosowski believe that the House could move quickly, Iden cautions that the current goal is to get his bill passed into law before the state legislature breaks for the summer recess next month. But the sports betting conversation will carry over into the fall. Realistically, he hopes the state legislature will pass all the necessary legislation by the end of 2018, and expects sports betting to be actually taking place in 2020.
On Monday, the Supreme Court found in favor of New Jersey in Murphy v NCAA, striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, the 1992 law that effectively prohibits sports betting in every state except Nevada.
Besides managing tribal interests – which fall under a different set of rules than the commercial casinos – Michigan is also competing with Windsor, Ontario, Canada for casino dollars. The city is home to Caesars Windsor, a commercially owned, full-service casino that includes a sportsbook. Caesars is less a half-hour drive across the Detroit River from downtown Detroit.
Kosowski has introduced three bills — (HB 4060, HB 4261, and HB 4529) — that address everything from making sports betting legal across the state to allowing for sports betting at state lottery terminals.
Since the Supreme Court decision on Monday, state lawmakers across the country have been scrambling to push legislation forward while New Jersey gaming interests are promising sports betting within weeks.
Earlier this week, California Assemblyman Adam Gray said he is reviving and amendment he introduced in 2017 in the hopes of getting it on the ballot in November. And New Jersey’s Monmouth Park, a leader in pressing for legal sports betting, is hoping to be open for sports betting before the end of the month.