Michigan Moves on Sports Betting

Almost nine months after his sports betting package was shot down by then Governor Rick Snyder on the eve of 2019, Michigan Representative Brandt Iden got the first hearing of the year on sports betting Tuesday morning. The occasion prior to the Regulatory Reform Committee was brief and sweet: Iden shared stories about his weekend sports betting in Indiana, three committee members asked concerns, three cards were read in, and less than 20 minutes later, the meeting adjourned.

HB 4916, filed last Wednesday, is really a 21-page bill that enables for state-wide mobile betting, sets the tax price at eight percent, mandates the usage of “official league data” for Tier II, or in-gam wagering, and allows for sports betting at commercial and tribal casinos.

Iden’s bill is tie-barred to on-line casino bill, HB 4311, which means that bill must pass in order for sports betting to turn out to be legal.

Iden has been championing sports betting in Michigan since before the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May 2018, and Tuesday said he hopes this try will move quickly so Michigan to-be licensees can offer legal sports betting in time for the Super Bowl.

“We have to be competitive with other states,” Iden said in his introduction, during which he pointed to neighboring Indiana’s early September launch of sports betting. “You will lose bettors to other states.”

To illustrate his point, Iden shared particulars of his weekend, which involved driving 45 minutes from his house to the new FanDuel Sportsbook in the Michigan City, Ind. Blue Chip Casino Hotel and Spa, exactly where he laid down bets on the Michigan-Army game and several other events. Iden painted a image of Michigan license plates dotting the parking lot, and fans jammed in to the sportsbook on the opening weekend from the NFL season.

Besides betting against Michigan – and losing – on Saturday, Iden placed a bet on the Cardinals. “On Saturday, I also placed a futures bet for Sunday … I bet around the Cardinals, the spread was 2 ½ points, I’m always betting against the Lions,” he stated, as he reached into his jacket pocket for his betting slip. “They’re always going to blow it … it was fun. I present (my betting slip) as Exhibit A to the committee.

“I use this as an example. I decided to go there, simply because like numerous individuals thinking about gaming, I go exactly where the options are. … And, by the way, I filled up my gas tank, it was 10 cents cheaper, and I had lunch in Indiana. I spent all of my disposable earnings there.”

Michigan was poised to be among the first crop of states to move on sports betting late final year, when Snyder vetoed a package of iGaming bills on Dec. 28. The bills in that package wouldn’t have legalized sports betting, but would have set the table for state-wide mobile, among other things. In the time, Iden was blindsided and deflated, as he watched numerous hours of negotiating with his peers and tribal interests wash away.

“I am surprised and disappointed. With this numerous stakeholders on board, it took us two years to obtain to this point, and it’s the very first time in any state history that we had all the parties that were supportive of the bill (around the exact same web page),” he stated in December.

But Iden renewed his commitment in 2019, although odds of passage are no certain factor.

With the exception of at least 1 committee member who considers the tax price in the bill as well low, the bill did not spark controversy or much discussion Tuesday.

The tax rate and also the mandate to make use of official league information will likely be important discussion points going forward. But Iden had fast answers to each Tuesday. Each Republican Chairman Michael Webber and Representative Sara Cambensy questioned the tax price, which at eight percent is definitely friendly to potential operators, who think about 10 % or lower a workable price.

Webber asked if the rate was competitive and Cambensy, a Democrat, stated she felt Iden needed to get “more creative” using the rate. Neighboring Indiana’s tax rate is 9.five percent.

“As you have read within the media as I continue to pursue this, the tax rate has turn out to be a significant problem,” Iden stated in his reply to Webber. “There is an chance to move this upwards, probably slightly, but I give my word I will not advance these (bills) until I can discover some resolution.”

The underlying message is that Iden continues to be negotiating the tax rate with new Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

With regard to the use of official league information, Tennessee became the first state to play ball using the pro leagues this year. The Volunteer State not only became the first to legalize mobile-only sports betting, but the initial to mandate the usage of official league data. Illinois quickly followed suit, and it appears like the leagues might get an additional break in Michigan.

“The leagues do have a place here,” Iden said. “These are their games, their players, and if everybody has a seat in the table, it’ll make for the best experience.”

The bill calls for the use of official league data only to settle in-game wagers.

Michigan has an established casino infrastructure and like Indiana or Iowa, could likely go reside with sports betting within months of it becoming legal. As Iden illustrated, the state is surrounded by competitors for sports betting dollars – Indiana and Illinois each have legal sports betting, though Illinois is months away from going live; Ohio has been investigating legalizing sports betting, and Canada, just over the Detroit River from Detroit, has lengthy been a casino gaming competitor.

At the close from the hearing, Chairman Webber study in three cards indicating that the Michigan state budget workplace is opposed to the bill, and that a representative for the NBA, PGA and Significant League Baseball and operator DraftKings are both “neutral” but support legal sports betting.

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