The Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee today approved Rep. Brandt Iden’s proposal to legalize online casino gaming with overwhelming bipartisan support.
Iden’s legislation would allow internet-based gaming only through casinos currently operating in Michigan, including Detroit’s three casinos and any tribal casino that reworks its compact with the state to reflect the new technology. Safeguards would be established to protect players’ accounts and ensure only those 21 and older are using the service.
“This extension of existing gaming will boost revenue to the state and our local communities for essential public services, without asking for more money through general taxes,” Iden, of Oshtemo, said after the committee vote. “People already are gambling illegally online. As technology and market forces evolve, legalization of online gaming is inevitable. Michigan should be proactive – legalize it, make it safe for customers by allowing them to play on a secure and regulated system, and capitalize on its revenue benefits for the public services we all use every day.”
The technology – often referred to as ‘igaming’ — already is legal in Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Iden, who chairs the Regulatory Reform Committee, has been working on the bills with stakeholders for more than six months.
“Today’s vote was a significant first step toward approval,” Iden said. “We’ll continue to work with our colleagues in both the House and Senate next year to finalize a system that works for all involved to benefit the state of Michigan.”
The legislation calls for 10 percent of gross gaming revenue to go to the state and local communities, potentially translating to millions of dollars. The plan includes a variety of built-in safety measures for consumers, including an additional $1 million to help problem gamblers.
The legislation: House Bills 4926-4928