Since beginning the 2013-2014 session, the Michigan legislature has introduced the following bills, summarized below, that would affect gaming activity in the state if passed.

House Bill 4531(HB 4531)/Senate Bill 0294 (SB 0294)– HB 4531 was introduced on April 10, 2013 by Representative Kevin Cotter (R-Isabella/Midland County). On the same day, a concurrent bill was introduced in the Senate containing the same language by Senator Rick Jones (R-Allegan/Barry/Eaton County). The legislation, if passed, would amend the McCauley-Traxler-Law-Bowman-McNeely Lottery Act (“Lottery Act”) to prohibit the sale of lottery tickets over the Internet. Notably, the Michigan Lottery is currently reviewing proposals received in response to an RFP issued on January 8, 2013 seeking a partner to develop an online lottery sales program.

The bills propose an amendment to the Lottery Act that would include the provision that “[T]he Commissioner shall not allow tickets or shares in the state lottery to be sold over the Internet.” If passed, the legislation would arguably prevent the state lottery from moving forward with developing an online sales platform, as contemplated in the January RFP. Currently, the state lottery is reviewing responses to the RFP received from potential partners and expects to announce the winning bid on May 17, 2013. Thereafter, the state lottery would work with the online partner to develop an online sales system that is expected to be operational by late-January, 2014.

HB 4531 was referred to the House Committee on Government Operations on April 10, 2013. SB 0294 was referred to the Senate Committee on Regulatory Reform, also on April 10, 2013.

House Bill 4361 (HB 4361)– HB 4361 was introduced on March 5, 2013 by Representative Roger Victory (R-Hudsonville). The legislation aims to provide penalties for Michigan lottery sales licensees that exchange lottery tickets for food assistance program benefits. If passed, those holding a lottery license that participate in such conduct would be subject to a license suspension or revocation.

The bill would provide for licensing actions against licensees that are convicted of violations or administratively disqualified from acting as a merchant under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 because the licensee accepted food assistance benefits in exchange for lottery products. First time violators would face a 60-day license suspension, while repeat offenders would result in a license revocation.

HB 4361 was referred to the House Committee on Regulatory Reform on March 5, 2013.

 

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