Rep. Brandt Iden Working Out the Kinks to Move iGaming Forward in Michigan

Representative Brandt Iden of Michigan never gives up. The Rep has worked for several years to see online gambling legalized in his state and recent efforts may finally see that dream become a reality. Changes have been made to legislation regarding both online gambling and sports betting after negotiations took place with vendors, sports leagues and operators. The House committee chairman is now going to try again with legislation to see the options come to pass.

Amended Legislation

Iden is determined to see Michigan reap the rewards of sports betting and online gambling. Legislation has now been amended in the hopes of getting the betting industries in place before nearby Ohio starts to offer services. Iden wanted to work with Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office in moving forward, but was unable to see any success.

The administration is not willing to discuss legislation regarding the gambling topics, but worries that the new industries would hurt revenues that go towards public education.

While Iden says the governor’s office is not working with him, the office says they have taken every meeting they have been invited to and continue to work closely with the bill sponsor as well as stakeholders and tribal groups.

Proposed Changes

The changes to the bill were completed yesterday and it is expected that the House Ways and Means Committee will consider the bill today. Changes proposed include increasing the tax rates for sports betting and online gaming. Initially, Iden had set the taxes at 8%. Whitmer wanted to see iGaming taxed at 40% and sports betting at 15%.

Sports betting is now set at 8.75% at the tribal casinos and 12% for the casinos in Detroit. Detroit’s number is a bit higher due to a 3.25% tax set by the city. The governor wanted to see higher tax rates to ensure that the School Aid Fun would not be short due to expanded gambling offerings.

For online gambling, the tax rates will range from 4% to 23% depending on revenues earned. A tiered program will be enacted. Detroit casinos could reach a high end of 26.25% if they have high revenue earnings and the percentage includes the 3.25% city tax rate.

Agreements were reached during negotiations with the professional sports leagues including the NFL and MLB. The new drafted legislation now requires official league data to be used for in-game wagers. With the change, Sports betting operators must notify the Gaming Control Board that they will use official data for Tier 2 wagers and then in 60 days comply with the request.

So now, we must wait and see how the legislation fares in the House committee. Iden is hoping the legislation moves forward and gains the governor’s approval. Last year, the Representative moved online gambling legislation through only to see it vetoed by the former governor. Iden is hoping the outcome this time around will be different.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.