Michigan online gambling bill reaches full Senate

Michigan is ahead of several other jurisdictions which have been discussing online gambling for years.

The Michigan Senate Regulatory Reform Committee passed a recently introduced iGaming bill, SB 889, by a vote of 8-1.

US.- After a short hearing, the Michigan Senate Regulatory Reform Committee passed a recently introduced iGaming bill, SB 889, by a vote of 8-1. The bill, introduced in April, now moves to the floor for consideration and could come up for a vote by the full Senate in the coming weeks.

State Senator Mike Kowall, the bill’s sponsor, affirms everything else is put on hold at this time of year until the legislature and the governor pass the state budget, so a potential Senate vote will likely have to wait until then. The budget is expected to be finalised in the next week to two weeks according to Governor Rick Snyder.

According to Kowall, he has all the state’s casino stakeholders on board. It also transpired that Amaya (PokerStars) is likely a driving force behind this year’s efforts to pass an online gambling bill, as three representatives from the company spoke at the May 4 hearing. Another advocate for the bill is MGM Resorts (MGM Detroit Casino), as the company is one of the most vocal supporters for online gambling legalisation in the land-based casino industry.

Amendments to SB 889 have yet to be unveiled, but may have to do with constitutional issues, as Kowall believes the bill would need to be amended to fix “some constitutional issues with the tribes and the tribal compacts.” The number of available licenses may also face changes after Kowall said the limiting of online gambling licenses to eight was a “stepping off point,” and he that he would be open to changing it in the future.