Michigan House Passes Online Gambling and Sports Betting Bill

A bill to legalize online gambling and sports betting advanced in Michigan on Tuesday. The state House passed H4926 with a 68-40 vote. The legislation will allow tribal and commercial gaming operators in the state to establish igaming platforms.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Brandt Iden, who has been going back and forth between state tribal and commercial gaming interests to establish a framework that will appease all parties. Though the process has taken much longer than Iden originally estimated, Tuesday's vote demonstrates the progress he has made.

Michigan has come close to passing online gambling legislation in the past, but momentum always fizzled out by the end of the year. This year could be different as local news reports the Senate is likely to consider Iden's bill when they return in the fall.

A Michigan House analyst said the timing is right for a bill like H4926 to finally pass in the state. The likelihood that the federal government will enact a nationwide ban on online gambling is significantly reduced by the recent decision to allow sports betting outside Nevada.

Iden says the bill is essential because many Michigan residents are already gambling online but do not know that the sites they use are unregulated.

If H4926 passes as it is written, it will tax all forms of online gaming revenue at the same rate of eight percent. Such a tax rate is expected to provide a strong incentive for leading platforms and gaming operators to enter Michigan's market.

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