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Michigan’s Online Gambling Industry May Be Over Before It Even Begun

An online gambling bill passed by the Michigan House last year may not last until 2019.

State Representative Brandt Iden introduced legislation HB4926, a Michigan online gambling bill capable of greatly improving the infrastructure of the state via legalization, regulation, and taxation of online gambling services. While Iden’s online gambling bill HB4926 swept the House via 68-40 vote the bill stalled in the Senate Committee.

However, results from the Midterm Elections show Rep. Brandt Iden won his re-election campaign for the Michigan House of Representatives by defeating challenger Alberta Griffin by more than 51%. Rep. Iden will be serving his third term in the state legislature and hopes to move the state in a more progressive direction under the leadership of Gretchen Whitmer.

This re-election win will allow Rep. Iden to champion his Michigan online gambling bill for another term. However, Michigan bills from 2017-2018 do not carry over into odd years which means if Iden cannot get the Senate to approve of his online gambling bill by the end of 2018 and obtain the new Governor’s signature, he will have to start the process over again in the 2019 sessions.

The local gaming industry supports Iden’s bill which would allow casino-style online gambling in the state and are happy the Representative retained his 61st District seat which oversees Oshtemo, Prairie Ronde, Texas, and Portage, Schoolcraft townships and villages, and the village of Vicksburg in Kalamazoo County.

Rep. Iden has not only shown support for online gambling also known as iGaming, but sports betting as well and intends the state to offer sports gambling and online sports gambling if lawmakers approve of the regulation over sports betting.

However, the Representative faces steep opposition from Michigan tribes who operate 25 casinos in the state and commercial operators. The tribes claim the Federal Government may prohibit tribal casinos from offering online gambling and create an exclusive monopoly for iGaming for commercial casinos. The commercial casinos worry they will invest in iGaming only to be stopped by a legal feud between the tribes and the Federal Government.

Representative Brandt Iden may not have enough time before the end of 2018 to pass his bill and handle potential issues brought up by both jurisdictional casino operators.