HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveVolume 24Issue 16INTERNET GAMING BILL CONTINUES TO PROGRESS

With the summer break rapidly approaching, Representative Brandt Iden, a Republican representing District 61, continues to seek support for his Internet Gaming Bill, HB 4926.  There are only 15 legislative sessions (and 3 tentative sessions) left before the summer break in June. The legislature returns to session during mid September.

HB 4926 was initially introduced on September 12, 2017, with a hearing on December 13, 2017 at which the Committee on Regulatory Reform adopted a version H-3 with a recommendation to pass the legislation.  Since then, there have been numerous meetings with interested stakeholders in the attempt to craft an amended version that could win the necessary support for passage. 

The most recent version, H-4, attempts to address the various interests of the state Native American and Detroit casinos.  Unlike prior versions, H-4 restricts possible tribal licensees to those who conduct Class III gaming (casino-style games such as slot machines and table games) and contains more specifics regarding the process for possible new and amended compacts with the State of Michigan to permit the activity. 

As drafted, the bill also removes the previous requirement that a person placing the wager be physically present in the State of Michigan.  Finally, the proposed revised bill also explicitly states that the bill does not apply to fantasy sports.  The revised bill retains the existing taxation structure of the previous versions, assessing an 8% tax on gross gaming revenue on all internet gaming license holders. 

In an interview  with the Michigan Gaming Newsletter Representative Iden stated: “The issue is centered around education.  Gaming issues are complex, and we continue to work with colleagues to educate them surrounding the issues.”  He went on to note: “Currently, people are playing online casino games that are not regulated.  HB 4926 is an attempt to regulate the games that people are already playing.  It is not an expansion of gaming.  We will continue working with interested parties, including the Detroit casinos and the Michigan Tribes, in attempting to address their concerns.”

In complimentary legislation of the House Regulatory Reform Committee, of which Representative Iden is the chairperson, will be holding a hearing next Wednesday, May 16 at 10:30 AM.  On the agenda are HB 4742, a bill to amend the Michigan penal code to provide an exception for fantasy sports  and HB 4743, a bill to regulate and tax fantasy sports contests.


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