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Michigan considering online gambling bills

May 15, 2016

The Michigan Regulatory Reform Committee is considering two bills that could change the fate of the online gambling industry in the state. The committee met last Wednesday to discuss the bills that were introduced to the state Senate (SB 889 and SB 890). SB 889 was introduced by Michigan State Senator Mike Kowall during the month of April to open the doors to the online poker and casino gambling market. The Lawful Internet Gaming Act supports the idea of a regulated online gambling industry in the state, where only tribal and Michigan casinos already licensed would be able to offer online gambling services.

Only a short number of licenses will be issued, eight in total, and the fees that the casinos would be facing is approximately $5 million. SB 890 basically makes changes on the state's penal code, creating exemptions for online gambling so that SB 889 can perfectly be considered. The three most important casinos in Michigan MGM Grand Detroit Casino, Motor City Casino, and Greektown Casino) continued holding a neutral position on the bill and made no statements during the hearing. However, the hearing had one exceptional protagonist, Poker Players Alliance (PPA) President John Pappas, who presented a clear testimony supporting Michigan’s online gambling industry: “In the state of Michigan, we boast nearly 20,000 Poker Players Alliance activists. These individuals and taxpayers, along with countless more state residents, enjoy playing poker in their homes, in charitable games, at state-licensed commercial casinos and at tribal casinos. But we currently cannot play this great game of skill in a legal and regulated market on the internet in Michigan. Starting with this committee hearing, I am hopeful that this will change. I am pleased to serve as a resource to help you better understand how internet poker and other forms of internet gaming are already being regulated effectively in the United States and throughout the world, and why regulation is the best way to protect consumers as well as maximize economic benefits for the state and the existing gaming industry”.


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