MICHIGAN is the latest US state to take big strides towards regulated online gambling and sports betting.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives in Lansing voted 68-40 in favour of a bill that proposes, among other things, an eight per cent tax on wagers made over the internet.
That is a significant drop on the 19 per cent tariff in action at Detroit’s three land-based gambling dens, which may now consider applying for online casino licences.
Michigan’s 23 Native American casinos might also look to enter the digital realm, although they would need to reach separate agreements with state lawmakers to do so.
According to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brandt Iden of Oshtemo Township, the move to legalise internet gambling is all about keeping up with the times.
“The way people game is moving more and more to the online platform,” he said.
“Everything we do today is moving to an online platform, and that’s exactly what this does.
“It takes the same games that you can play inside the casino and now puts them online and regulates it from a standpoint of … you can now do it legally.”
The online gambling bill has also opened the door for a regulated sports betting industry.
Delaware and New Jersey have already legalised the practice after the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) in May.
Mary Kay Bean of the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) revealed that legal sports wagering was well and truly on the agenda.
“If the bill becomes law, the MGCB is prepared to regulate sports betting in Michigan,” she said.
“The MGCB has not received a request from a casino wishing to offer sports betting.
“If and when a request is received, the agency will determine whether the activity requested is permitted under state law.”
With the capitol about to empty out for the summer break, the bill is not expected to hit the floor of the Michigan Senate until September.
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