While it’s true that 2019 isn’t over yet, there’s a strong possibility that Michigan won’t be able to introduce legal online gambling to its residents. The state has had the Lawful Internet Gaming Act available for discussion and potential introduction to law, but the likelihood is that it won’t be making any headway before the year comes to a close.
Rep. Brandt Iden has been working on the Lawful Sports Betting Act alongside this, which would authorise mobile sports betting within Michigan. This would not attach it to other forms of online gambling within the state though, should it be passed.
This could potentially be something that has halted the online gambling laws from becoming official within Michigan, because not everybody supports online poker in the same way that they support online sports betting, for example. However, Iden has made mention of the fact that he intends for both bills to be passed through the House together, just not in one and the same bill.
Speaking on his decision regarding this, Iden said that he looks at it “as a package of bills”, which all unite together. This gave him a chance to brush off any sort of suspicion that he’d given up hope on the Lawful Internet Gaming Act to focus solely on legalising online sports betting. That didn’t stop him from hinting that it may provide an alternative option for sports betting to be legalised, whilst leaving the Act on internet gaming behind.
Online Gambling Still Has the Backing from Key Members
The Bill relating to iGaming in Michigan managed to bypass the Legislature towards the end of 2018. However, it was vetoed by the outgoing Governor, Rick Snyder prior to him leaving office. Many thought that this was one of his final acts as a means to put a halt to online gambling becoming a possibility in the state.
The state’s new Governor, Gretchen Whitmer has also expressed her opposition of House Bill no. 4311 – which is the Lawful Internet Gaming Act in its current state. However, Iden has a mindset that the Bill will see support from both the House and the Senate, mentioning that people have supported it previously and they will again.
Iden acts as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee – a position that he will maintain until the end of the month. It is there that he intends to hold up both of his Bills on gambling, allowing the Governor to negotiate with her staff on language within them. That does not mean that Whitmer will become all supportive of the Acts or indeed even come to the table. Iden has noted before that she has chosen not to engage with him on either Bill.
Then again, Whitmer is a Democrat, and has clashed with the numerous Republican leaders within state office. This was primarily over the state budget that was signed, and with things seemingly getting worse in that area, hopes are quite low that she will manage to come to an agreement on the iGaming scene of Michigan before session ends this year.