Michigan’s House Regulatory Reform Committee has given the green light to three bills that could legalize sports wagering in the state. The approvals follow calls made last week from policy makers seeking a legal sports betting framework to be in place and operative in time for the Super Bowl in February 2020.
Central to the effort is House Bill 4916 which would open the door for Michigan operators to offer mobile and on-site sports bets. They include Detroit’s three commercial casinos and 23 tribal casinos.
Having passed successfully through the House, the next hurdle faced by the bill package is gaining approval from the House Ways and Means Committee, headed by Republican Brandt Iden, author of one of the bills and a champion of introducing sports betting to the state. Should that proceed to plan, they will be put before Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Quoted by WSN from a recent statement to the regulatory committee, Iden said: “My goal is to have this up and running by the Super Bowl. Casinos are moving forward because they know it’s going to come to fruition at some point.”
Among the issues around the bills that have yet to be agreed upon is the rate of tax that should be levied on sports gambling. Current proposals for an 8% tax for tribal casinos and 11.25% for Detroit’s commercial facilities have been deemed too low by Whitmer’s department. It has suggested a more punitive rate of 40% for online gaming and 15% on sports betting.
Speaking in the Detroit News, Iden has described the Whitmer office’s tax proposal as “preposterous”. He was quoted: “I’m willing to come up to 9, 9 and a half (percent tax rate). I think we could probably even maybe get to 10, potentially. I’ve thrown these numbers out for the governor and I’m just waiting on a response for this.”