Michigan Sports Betting Bills Advance Without Gove …

Michigan sports betting league data

Michigan sports betting

Sports betting legislation is moving in Michigan, advancing with a package of gambling bills through the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday.

The bills are off to the full House of Representatives, where they could get a vote later this week.

It’s the first successful vote for Michigan sports betting this session, though sports betting was mentioned as a possible future consideration in the iGaming bill vetoed by the governor last year.

New Iden substitute favors league request

Before passing H 4916 by a vote of 10-1, committee chairman Rep. Brandt Iden substituted the new language.

As reported previously by Legal Sports Report, the new draft increased the tax rate to 8.75% (a total of 12% for commercial casinos, including another 3.25% to Detroit). It mandated the use of official league data if offered on “commercially reasonable terms.”

It also adds language specific to mobile wagering to allow the bill to stand on its own in case it makes it to the finish line, and the iGaming legislation does not.

Support for Michigan sports betting bill

Iden worked to create a bill that the commercial casinos, Indian tribes and sports teams of Michigan all could get behind.

Before calling a vote, Iden rattled off a long list of cards submitted in support of the legislation: DraftKings, FanDuel, MGM, iDEA Growth, Lake Superior Chippewa, Huron Band of Potawatomi, Greektown Casino, Motor City Casino, NBA, MLB, PGA Tour and the Detroit Pistons.

“This substitute, really, I think helps to bring all the stakeholders that participated in the conversation on board,” Iden said. “We had a lot of in-depth discussion as it related to the rules and regulations and how sports betting was going to be outlined in the state. We obviously know other states are ahead of us as it related to this issue. Indiana and Illinois have already moved forward. Ohio is quickly on our heels.”

Legislature moving bills despite governor’s opposition

After 10 months of negotiations, all stakeholders seem to be on board with the Michigan sports betting legislation — except perhaps the one that matters most.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer previously endorsed a report asking for a 15% tax rate on sports betting with initial licensing fees up to $1 million.

The Michigan State Budget Office and two public education associations in the state submitted cards in opposition to the bills.

The nay vote came from minority vice chair Rep. Rebekah Warren. Iden earlier told LSR that Warren, a supporter of the issue in general, was close to the governor and a conduit between the committee and administration.

Warren explained:

“We’re getting ever so much closer to having a package of bills that meet all of those objectives: can get the majority vote that’s needed, the super majority vote when it’s needed and get the administration to sign off with Gov. Whitmer’s signature. Unfortunately, there are a couple of pieces of this package that are not quite ready yet. … Please hear me saying the goal is to get to ‘yes,’ we are just not ‘yes’ today.”

The three other Democrats in the committee all voted for the bills.

Governor absent in MI sports betting talks

Iden and majority vice chair Rep. Jim Lilly expressed frustration that Whitmer and her administration have not engaged with the committee on sports betting in Michigan in recent months.

Lilly noted that the substitute language constituted an agreement among the stakeholders at the table asking to be part of the conversation.

Iden and the committee tried to involve everyone in crafting the language, but Whitmer is missing from that discussion.

“As much as it pains me to say, the governor’s office has not put in that time up to this point,” Lilly said. “While I think we’re still interested in finding a landing spot, you have to be willing to be part of the conversation if you want to be part of the end outcome.”

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