Online poker bill in Michigan could reach governor by June
Online gaming legislation is making its way through the state’s Congress
Michigan Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr. is working hard to bring legalized online gaming to the state. He was responsible, in large part, for getting the Lawful Internet Gaming Act in front of the governor last year and some could say that it’s in his blood. His latest efforts seem to be paying off and there’s a chance that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer could see a congressionally approved bill on her desk by June. Online poker may make it to the state before summer.
One of the bill’s sponsors, Representative Brandt Iden, says of Hertel, “He helped last time with the conversations with the city of Detroit and was supportive as we got into the final days of the lame duck and tried to get it past the finish line. His father is a former member of the legislature who helped put casinos in Detroit 20 years ago. It’s great to have this supportive senator on this, and we’ll work together to get it on the governor’s desk.”
A House bill that Iden drafted was recently approved by the House Regulatory Reform Committee and is now waiting to be heard by the Ways and Means Committee. Hertel has deferred the action to bring online gaming to the state for one simple reason – he’s a Democrat and Republicans control both the House and Senate. By handing the baton off to the Republican Iden, there are better chances the bill will succeed. Once the bill reaches the governor’s desk, it will be back before a Democrat in Whitmer.
Michigan’s former governor, Rick Snyder, axed a gaming bill out of spite as he was leaving office. That shouldn’t happen this time around with Whitmer and Hertel explains, “I think everyone was frustrated at the end of last year, as it took a lot of people a lot of work to get there. It would have been nice if the former governor let people know. Usually, you have some idea if the governor is going to oppose something. But a lot of negotiations happened toward the end of the session to make sure we had all the players on board and, as far as I’m aware, nobody has jumped ship.”