Online gambling in Michigan still at a standstill
No compromise seen coming from the state’s governor
The Michigan Administration has listened to the state’s lottery, which has said that online gaming would cannibalize state revenue contributions provided by the lottery and retail casinos. Despite the fact that many studies have already concluded that these options haven’t suffered where online gaming has been offered, Governor Gretchen Whitmer listened to the advice and has blocked attempts to allow online poker and other forms of gaming to legally make their way to the Michigan landscape. From the looks of things, this isn’t going to change anytime soon, either.
Michigan Representative Brandt Iden, who sponsored the online gaming bill, has been trying to sit down with Whitmer, who is apparently refusing to discuss the issue with the representative in person. Iden explains, “I’d love to have a direct conversation with her about this. She refuses to engage with me directly. I’ve been talking to her staff. I welcome the opportunity, for the record, to sit down with the governor any time and talk about this issue.”
Iden had been ready to increase the tax rate and put a larger share of the state’s take toward the Michigan School Aid Fund in an attempt to get Whitmer to change her mind. However, the state Treasurer jumped in and suggested that the tax rate should be 40%, much higher than what Iden would be willing to allow. He asserts, “When you propose something like a 40% tax rate, it just clearly shows that you have no knowledge of what’s happening in the industry.”
Iden points to New Jersey as a perfect example of how retail and online gaming can coexist without any issues. The state may not have a lottery, but retail gambling is on the rebound, despite the fact that online gaming came into existence last year. The lawmaker states, “One of the things I continue to ask is for the administration to better educate themselves on the issue. The fact that the governor’s office is ignoring the experts and simply listening to Treasury, who is not an expert in this issue and has very little knowledge, is problematic.”
Problematic for online gaming, as well as any advancement where decisions are based on hearsay and opinions and not on facts.