Michigan moves towards legalising online gambling

By Harrison Sayers

Michigan's House of Representatives has voted 68-40 in favour of online gambling bill HB 4926, which paves the way for the Lawful Internet Gaming Act.

The bill, if approved by Michigan's Senate and signed into law, would allow people 21 years and older to register with one of Detroit's three casinos and 23 tribal casinos and gamble from their websites.

Existing casinos would be able to apply for online gambling licenses and operators could offer online sports wagers.

The fee for an online gaming licence would be $100,000. Successful casino applicants would also have to pay an additional $200,000, followed by annual payments of $100,000.

Licence holders would be subjected to an 8% tax on gross gaming revenues.

The legislation also outlines the creation of a new division within the Michigan Gaming Control Board that would be dedicated to internet gaming and licencing.

“People in Michigan are already gambling over the internet, but they are doing so at risky and illegal websites. The Michigan websites will have strict state oversight, unlike the illegal and unregulated sites our resident use now, at great risk to their finances and personal information," said State Representative Brandt Iden, a Republican who introduced the legislation last year.

HB 4926 is expected to be voted on by Michigan’s Senate in Septemeber and, if approved, would need to be signed by the Governor.  If that happens, Michigan would be in line to become the fifth state to permit online gambling joining Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

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