Since the 2013-2014 legislative session began in January 2013, the legislative proposals introduced related to changes in the Michigan gaming landscape and regulatory environment surrounding the casino gaming industry have been very limited. Several pieces of legislation have been introduced that would affect the state lottery and these are outlined below.

SB 0339/ SB 0384– These two Senate Bills, which are tie-barred, would require individual lottery winners to use the winning funds to reimburse state agencies for benefits received from the state in the past.

Senate Bill 0339 was introduced on May 1, 2013 by Senator John Moolenaar (R-Midland) would require lottery winners of prizes of $600.00 or more to reimburse funds received pursuant to the Social Welfare Act for all assistance received over the past ten years. The bill would cap the total reimbursement for previously received benefits at 50% of the lottery prizes won. If passed, the program would be jointly monitored by the state Department of Human Services and Bureau of State Lottery. Senate Bill 0339 was referred to the Senate Committee on Families, Seniors and Human Services on May 1, 2013.

Senate Bill 0384 was introduced on May 23, 2013, also by Senator Moolenaar and is tie-barred with Senate Bill 0339. This legislation, if passed, would amend the McCauley-Traxler-Law-Bowan-McNeely Lottery Act (“Lottery Act”) to align the language with Senate Bill 0339. It would create a new section within the statute to require the Bureau of State Lottery to check with the Department of Human Services regarding any benefit payments over the past ten years prior to awarding any prizes. The legislation would also require the Bureau of State Lottery to adhere to the same confidentiality restrictions placed on the Department of Human Services regarding this information. On May 23, 2013, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Families, Seniors and Human Services.

Because Senate Bill 0384 is tie-barred with Senate Bill 0339, it would not become effective unless Senate Bill 0339 is also passed into law.

SB 0294– Senate Bill 0294 was introduced on April 10, 2013 by Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) would amend the Lottery Act to add a provision stating “[t]he [Lottery] commissioner shall not allow tickets or shares in the state lottery to be sold over the Internet.” On April 10, 2013, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Regulatory Reform.

Notably, on January 8, 2013, the Bureau of State Lottery issued a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) seeking a partner to develop, according to its website, “digital distribution channels such as web and mobile, also known as iLottery.” The agency accepted proposals through March 26, 2013 and, according to the RFP Schedule, is currently reviewing these proposals. The award for any contract is currently scheduled for June 14, 2013, with implementation of the first phase of the project tentatively scheduled for February 18, 2014.

Importantly, Governor Rick Snyder has stated his support for an iLottery system and, on February 7, 2013, recommended in his budget proposal that a total of $3.3 million be allocated to the Bureau of State Lottery to “launch iLottery where current existing lottery games will be offered through modern digital channels of web, mobile application or tablets to help increase revenues to the School Aid Fund.”

HB 4361– House Bill 4361 was introduced on March 5, 2013 by Representative Roger Victory (R-Hudsonville) and would provide penalties for Michigan lottery sales agent 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 60-day license suspension and repeat offenders would be subject to license revocation.

On April 25, 2013, House Bill 4361 passed the house with a vote of 107-1 and was later referred to the Senate Committee on Regulatory Reform. On May 21, 2013, the bill was referred favorably out of committee to the Senate Committee of the Whole with a recommendation for immediate effect.

 

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