Rep. Brandt Iden's Win in Michigan is a Win for Online Poker
The narrow victory that secured Rep. Brandt Iden's third term in the Michigan statehouse was also a win for online poker in the state. For the past two years, Iden has been a champion for online gambling. Last year he introduced H 4926, also known as the Lawful Internet Gaming Act.
Iden won his seat with less than 1,300 votes over his competitor, Democrat Alberta Griffin. It was a familiar win for Iden who has emerged from two tightly contested races in 2014 and 2016. The seat remained undecided on Tuesday night and was not announced until late Wednesday morning.
Iden's bill to legalize online gambling made early progress in 2018 before stalling out in the Senate. Iden's continued presence in the House will anchor the effort and give it the best odds of progressing through 2019.
While the framework to legalize online gambling is already established, there is still much work to be done in Michigan. Iden faces the complicated task of convincing tribal gaming operators in the state that online gambling will not cannibalize their Detroit casinos.
Additionally, Michigan bills from 2017-18 will not carry over into the new year. For Iden to continue his efforts he will essentially have to restart the process from the beginning and introduce a new version of the Lawful Internet Gaming Act.
The online gambling landscape is set to expand in early 2019 with the addition of Pennsylvania. This will give Iden and other iGaming supporters in Michigan yet another example of how a state can legalize and regulate the industry.