HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveNewslettersVolume 18Issue 10Michigan Casino Expansion - Ballot Initiative Update

On Tuesday, April 3, 2012, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers (“Board”) approved petition language for the group Citizens for More Michigan Jobs related to a proposed ballot initiative that would authorize the addition of eight casinos across the state. The petition language is the second such petition approved by the Board for groups seeking to expand casino-style gaming in the state for the November 6, 2012 election.

Citizens for More Michigan Jobs

Citizens for More Michigan Jobs is seeking to propose a state constitutional amendment that would authorize the establishment of eight new casino facilities, one each in Detroit, Clam Lake Township, DeWitt Township, Pontiac, Clinton Township, Birch Run Township, Grand Rapids, and Romulus. The location of each of these facilities is specified in the proposed amendment, listing the exact parcel of land where each new casino would be located.

Under current law, the three existing commercial casinos in Detroit are subject to a 19% wagering tax, with 10.1% of the tax allocated to the state and 8.1% of the tax allocated to the City of Detroit. If passed, the proposed amendment would raise the tax to a 23% tax on gross receipts which would be allocated as follows: 30% to K-12 schools throughout the state, 20% to municipal governments for fire and police services, 20% to the local units of government where the casino is located, 20% to the county in which the casino is located, 5% to the state for the purposes of road repair and construction, and 5% to the state for gambling addiction prevention services. Casinos located in the City of Detroit, including the three existing commercial casinos, would also be subject to the 23% tax rate but would require wagering taxes to be distributed as follows: 60% to police and fire services in the city, 20% to K-12 schools throughout the state, and 20% to the state to fund road repairs and construction.

In addition, the proposed amendment would require the Michigan Gaming Control Board to issue an annual report that details the wagering taxes collected and the distributions made in accordance with the new tax structure. The amendment would also require the state legislature to “enact laws to promote and encourage the employment of Michigan residents and the use of equipment manufactured in Michigan in the development and operation of casinos in this state.”

In order for the petition language to be placed on the November ballot, Citizens for More Michigan Jobs must collect 322,609 valid signatures before July 9, 2012.

Michigan is Yours

The group Michigan is Yours received approval from the Board for petition language related to a ballot proposal to amend the state constitution to allow for seven additional commercial casinos throughout the state on November 18, 2011. The group originally received approval for similar petition language in 2010, but failed to submit the required number of signatures at that time.

Under the petition language approved for Michigan is Yours, seven additional commercial casinos would be authorized, one each in Benton Harbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Port Huron, Romulus, and Saginaw. Unlike the proposal by Citizens for More Michigan Jobs, the proposed ballot initiative would not raise the existing 19% wagering tax rate.

As with the Citizens for More Michigan Jobs proposal, Michigan is Yours must collect 322,609 valid signatures before July 9, 2012 for the group’s proposal to be included on the November 2012 ballot.


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