Two Online Gambling Bills Proposed In Michigan Legislature

Summary: Two bills have shown back up in Michigan Legislature, set to consider online gambling once again, both poker and casino games.

Michigan is one of several states that has considered online gambling legislation in the past. However, such legislation has been unable to move forward. It seems that lawmakers are trying again, as two bills have show up in Legislature this week. One is in the House and one in the Senate, both set to legalize online poker and casino gaming, as well as online sports betting.

Two Bills In The Works

Senate Bill 186 is the measure introduced within this section of the chamber, sponsored by Senator Curtis Hertel. In the House, H 4311 was introduced with Representative Brandt Iden as the sponsor. Iden has been in this fight before, having moved a bill last year in both chambers only to find that Governor Rick Snyder would veto the measure.

Snyder is not in office anymore, choosing to veto the bill just days before he left his role as governor of the state. Now, Governor Gretchen Whitmer will be the last person involved in passing legislation involving online gambling.

Basically, the two bills are similar to the efforts made last year. They would create a state Gaming Control Board, a group in charge of regulating the online gambling industry. Both commercial casinos and tribal casinos could apply for licensing, with the price set at $200,000 each. Revenues from online gambling would be taxed at 8%.

The change for the 2019 legislation is the addition of sports betting. state after state are considering sports betting legislation as the option is now open to all states in the US. In the new bills, it says that the division can permit online operators to accept wagers involving professional and amateur sports events or contests.

This added element could be the sticking point to seeing the legislation move forward.

What Happens Now?

So where does Michigan go from here? Both bills have been filed within the lower chamber and will be seen by the House Committee on Regulatory Reform. Reportedly, a hearing should take place next week on the matter, based on what sources have been telling other media outlets.

The state stands poised to pass the legislation, if the Governor is on board. Last year’s sudden veto was a major blow to proponents of online gambling. Sponsors have been working nonstop to be able to gain the support needed to see their next effort push ahead.

In 2018, if time had remained, the House and Senate would have had the option to override the veto. But that was not an option at the time.

Sponsors of the 2018 effort are optimistic that 2019 will see the state pass online gambling legislation. Iden has stated in the past that he planned on discussing online gambling with the new lawmakers coming in this year. It will take enough support for the measures to see success in the state.

Last year, legislation seemed to move rather quickly. If the new bills are heard next week, we may see a similar progressive path. All will be dependent on how quickly the bills are voted upon and how they move up the legislative chain.

If Michigan is able to pass the bills into law, they would become the first state to legalize online gambling since 2017. That year, Pennsylvania passed an expansive gambling package, one that included online poker and casino gaming. The state has yet to launch an iGaming industry but are expected to do so before 2019 comes to an end.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.