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Michigan sports betting bill passes first committee stage


The Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee has approved a bill that would allow for legal sports betting in the state, passing the bill to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

The committee progressed House Bill 4916, which was introduced by representative Brandt Iden on 5 September, on Tuesday 17 September. If passed into law, the bill would permit online and retail wagering, with land-based casino permitted to operate one mobile skin apiece. The Divison of Sports Betting would be created to serve as the regulator for the market.

The bill allows for both pre-game and in-play betting and does not specify a source of data that must be used for results.

Operators would be required to pay a $200,000 license fee, followed by a $100,000 annual renewal fee and would pay an 8% gross gaming revenue tax. Funds from this tax would go towards the municipalities in which the casinos are located, the state’s School Aid Fund, Transportation Fund and Agriculture Equine Industry Development Fund and thew state Sports Betting Fund, which would fund the treatment of gambling addiction and cover costs associated with regulating and enforcing sports betting laws.

The bill is the eighth draft of the legislation, after earlier versions included a multi-skin solution.

In the next stage for the bill, he Ways and Means Committee will examine how it fits into Michigan’s budget. Iden has previously noted that some stakeholders pushed for a higher tax rate for the bill, but he felt that companies would struggle to do business if more was collected.

HB 4916 is Iden’s latest attempt to expand legal gambling in Michigan. Last year, Iden introduced HB4926, 4927 and 4928, which collectively formed the Lawful Internet Gaming Act. While these bill progressed through the House and Senate, they were vetoed by outgoing Governor Rick Snyder.

Iden has resumed efforts to legalize online gaming in the state’s 2019-20 legislative session, though HB4311 has again run into difficulties, with new Governor Gretchen Whitmer resistant to the idea of allowing online slots.