HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveNewslettersVolume 21Issue 19Michigan Bills Seek to Authorize Sports, Simulcast Wagering at Casinos

On June 2, 2015, legislation was introduced by Representative Robert Kosowski (D-Westland) that, if passed, would authorize licensed commercial casinos in Michigan to operate sports wagering programs. In addition, Rep. Kosowski introduced separate legislation that would authorize casinos to accept wagers on simulcast horse races.

House Bill 4669 (“HB 4669”) would amend the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act to permit a casino license holder to “accept wagers on sporting events” and direct the Michigan Gaming Control Board to “promulgate rules to regulate the conduct of sports betting.” The legislation also acknowledges the necessity of local and statewide voter approval required by Article 41 of the Michigan Constitution for legislation that seeks to expand the scope of gaming activity in the state.

If the bill passes the legislature and receives the required voter approval, it will likely face significant hurdles under federal law. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”) prohibits states from authorizing or regulating sports wagering expect for in Nevada and in limited forms in Oregon, Delaware, and Montana, all of which had sports wagering programs that were grandfathered when the law was passed in 1992. In November of 2014, the US District Court for the District of New Jersey invalidated New Jersey’s attempt to authorize sports wagering in the state by affirming PASPA’s preemption of conflicting state statutes. New Jersey previously had sought to have PASPA declared unconstitutional, claiming that it violated the Equal Protection Clause by favoring four states to operate sports wagering while prohibiting all other states from doing so, but this argument was rejected by the courts.

House Bill 4670 (“HB 4670”) would also amend the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act to allow commercial casinos in the state to accept simulcast horse race wagers. Similar to HB 4669, HB 4670 would require statewide and local voter approval in accordance with Article 41 of the Michigan Constitution before it is enacted.

HB 4669 and HB 4670 have been referred to the House Committee on Regulatory Reform.


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