Potentially taking its cues from the state of West Virginia, which has just a single hurdle left to clear before online poker is made legal within, Michigan has set things in motion once more for its own path to online gambling. Lawmakers within Michigan are making another push to have legal internet gambling pushed through, so that poker and other games can be accessed by players within the state in an online environment.
It was only in January that reports emerged of the outgoing governor of Michigan vetoing the online poker bill that had been put forward. The online gambling legislation had been passed all the way through its various other locations before arriving at the desk of former Governor Rick Snyder. He would opt to veto it without really paying much attention to the bill.
However, with the introduction of a new Governor in Gretchen Whitmer, perhaps the bill will gain more attention this time around.
It was only last week that Representative Brandt Iden – who has been fighting for legal online gambling in Michigan for some time now – re-introduced the Lawful Internet Gaming Act. On Tuesday, the House Regulatory Reform group met in Lansing for the first hearing of the year relating to online gambling. It seems as though some of the iGaming supporters managed to maintain a level of momentum that was generated last year, if this meeting is anything to go by.
Iden Gives the Bill a Good Start in 2019
Prior to vetoing the bill, Snyder said that he didn’t choose to legalise internet gambling over fears that it would affect the Michigan State Lottery. However, during the meeting, Iden adamantly refuted the idea, stating that lottery players and poker players are two separate entities.
The bill and Iden also received support from representatives of land-based casinos within Detroit. The argument by opposers of online gambling is usually that land-based establishments would not be happy about internet operations, although with such support garnered in Michigan, that theory has automatically been debunked.
In fact, support didn’t come in any sort of minor way from the land-based casino contingent. It not only spoke in favour of the online gambling laws coming into effect, but it also mentioned it as being a sort of protection for its own workforce. Assertions were made over iGaming actually being a good thing to protect a huge number of casino jobs.
To accompany this support, the bill received a big boost from The Stars Group, owner of the world’s prime poker platform, PokerStars. Senior Vice President of Strategy & Government Relations for the company, Nick Means said that the decision on the bill was a choice between protecting consumers via regulation or providing offshore companies with the ability to flout state laws.
Questions were raised at the meeting regarding federal restrictions as far as the reinterpretation of the Wire Act is concerned, although there weren’t any organisations that chose to speak out against the possible introduction of online gambling.