According to state Senator Curtis Hertel Jr., the bill to legalize sports betting is expected to pass the Michigan state legislature on Wednesday. This will now pave the way for The Great Lake State to have sports betting, internet gambling, online poker and daily fantasy sports all under its umbrella of gaming.
After numerous weeks of going back and forth, sources have said that Governor Gretchen Whitmer agreed to terms that will finally get this deal done. Tiffany Brown, a spokesperson for Whitmer, reaffirmed that the governor was happy with the changes made in the Senate.
“The governor is pleased with the progress made on gaming over the course of this year, particularly once Senator Hertel and Representative (Rebekah) Warren were able to engage and resolve key issues to get this package across the finish line,” Brown said. “This is a good, bipartisan solution made possible by working together on a complex issue, and the governor looks forward to closely reviewing this package once it hits her desk.”
To get the deal done, the iGaming tax needed to be increased. Previously, it was Warren who was adamant about the sports betting and iGaming bills getting vetoed by the governor as they were originally drawn up. At that point, it looked like a certainty for sports betting to get a tax increase to pass.
However, in a surprising move, the tax rate for sports betting actually decreased from 8.75 percent to 8.4. Instead, it was iGaming that got the massive increase (that could range between 20-28 percent) with Michigan fearing that it would essentially eliminate the lottery system – iLottery.
In the final details, sports betting license fees are at $100,000, with a starting $50,000 application fee that gets renewed annually for the same amount.
“There was never any argument that sports gaming took away from iLottery,” said Hertel. “They are very different products.”
Most of that tax revenue would truly go to a great cause. The School Aid Fund, which funds K-12 schools in the state, would get a hefty amount in the deal. Additionally, $4 million per year would go to a fund that compensates firefighters that get cancer via smoke and chemicals while working on the job.
According to Hertel’s plans, he believes the bill will be approved by the Senate on Wednesday morning, with the final aspect getting passed by the House later in the day. Quite the day it’ll be for people in the state of Michigan if everything stays the course.
“People in Michigan are gambling,” said Hertel. “This just provides a legal avenue for it.”
There are currently 13 states in the United States that allow sports betting, with another six knocking on the door. Four states, one of which is Michigan, are currently considering the matter.
The legislation passed in the Senate would alter the rules for casinos in Detroit, which include removing a ban on people involved with the casino who donate to political candidates or committees. This bill needed three-quarters support from each chamber since it altered a voter-approved proposal.