For some time now, Michigan Representative Brandt Iden has been fighting to see online gambling legalized in the state. Last year, it seemed the option would become law, but instead, the former governor vetoed an approved plan. This year, Iden has been back again with the Lawful Internet Gaming Act. While efforts have moved forward, it seems that the option may not be legalized by the end of the year.
Mobile/Online Gambling Efforts
Iden has created the Lawful Internet Gaming Act which would authorize online gambling in the state. He also crafted the Lawful Sports Betting Act, which would authorize mobile sports betting without being connected to iGaming.
The Rep is positive that his bills will move forward, viewing the bills has a package deal. The internet bill is just as important to Iden as the sports betting bill that he recently created. Even though he is pushing both bills, either will at least help the state to have online gambling in some form or fashion if one passes into law.
Ready to Work with the Governor
Iden was thrown a huge curveball last year when an online gambling bill passed in the House and Senate only to be shot down by former Governor Rick Snyder. It as expected that Synder would sign the bill and the gaming option would move on as expected.
Now the Rep is trying to work with the new Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, to see iGaming come to pass. According to Iden, he has support and the votes to see his latest effort move through the House and Senate.
Moving forward, Idena plans to hold both bills in the House Ways and Means Committee. He is the chairman of the committee. The bills will be held until the end of October so that the new governor and her staff has time to negotiate the language of his legislation suggestions.
While Iden is willing to work with Whitmer but there are no signs that the Governor is interested in considering the option. According to the Rep, the Governor has not spoken to him on the matter since a report was issued with requests for online gambling by the office. Whitmer has shown concern over cannibalization of the state’s lottery, which was also a concern of former Governor Synder.
There is also concern by the Governor’s office that educational funding will decrease along with state revenues from higher-taxed retail betting. The solution Whitmer has asked for involves no online slot games, and high taxes and fees. This of course is a no-go for stakeholders.
Iden wants to provide a bill that Whitmer will support but he plans on proving a bill no matter what. He feels that Michigan can only be competitive if they offer online gambling. Iden says he has done everything he can to have conversations with the governor’s office as well as help to educate them on the issue.
He pointed out further that if they are not going to be responsible, then he will continue to advance legislation and work on the process internally with his colleagues within the House and Senate and hopefully at some point the Governor will come to the table.
It will be interesting to see how Iden moves forward and if his words will fall on deaf ears or if the governor will make an effort to listen to what he proposes and consider allowing online gambling to move forward in the state when everyone is on board.