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Michigan introduce legislation that would legalize online gambling


Once again, Michigan has entered the boxing ring for the possibility of the legalization of online gambling. Legislature reportedly scheduled the hearing for next week, and the stirrings come after a similar bill on iGaming had picked up steam in New York and Pennsylvania. Up to four different bills have appeared in the Senate, but unfortunately, none of the four bills contain text as of right now. The bills are:

S 202
S 203
S 204
S 205

Michigan State Senator Mike Kowall introduced online gambling into the statehouse last year, and he sponsored two of the bills. This effort to legalize gambling may come as a need to balance the needs of the state's commercial casinos and the tribal gaming facilities. Kowall sponsored bills 203 and 204, and it shows the backstory for online gambling and Michigan. Other sponsors of bills 203 and 204 include:

Curtis Hertel
Rick Jones
Marty Knollenberg
Bert Johnson
Rebekah Warren

Online gambling first appeared in the online gambling legalization discussion in April 2016 when Kowall first introduced it. From the start, Kowall expressed optimism about the bill reaching fruition. While a committee vote passed the bill in his chamber, however, the bill never advanced past that point. Towards the end, legislature seems to have set the stage for 2017 to discuss online gambling legalization.

Michigan already allows for online lottery sales, but the complex stakeholder mix could complicate Michigan's path toward legalization. The bill will be a trick: First, legislature must design a bill that leaps over the legal missteps, and second, they must satisfy the stakeholders. In January, Dave Palermo wrote how balancing both federal law and state law surrounding Indian gambling could prove complicated. One Michigan attorney who declined to be identified said that the regulations and jurisdictional components could make it next to impossible to resolve.

As of right now, regulated online gambling appears to have one active opponent in Michigan. Michigan's leap in the direction of legalization of online gambling marks them as the fifth state to attempt to legalize online gambling in 2017. Pennsylvania is expected to advance to the larger part of legislature where they will address reform and expansion. New York also picked up steam on the path to regulated online poker. Finally, you have California, where proponents introduced a bill to regulate online poker. Whether or not online gambling will see legalization in Michigan remains unseen.

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