Senator Says Michigan Will Pass Poker Bill this Year

4 years ago
Mike Kowall Says Michigan Will Pass Poker Bill this Year
17 May

Michigan could join its counterparts Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware this year in offering legalized online poker according to the man who introduced the bill, Republican state Senator Mike Kowall.

His Chief of Staff and legislative director Dave Biswas this week announced that he “saw no reason” why the bill shouldn’t become law sometime this year, notwithstanding some minor amendments following the Michigan Senate hearing held earlier this month.

Bill SB889, otherwise known as the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, may have to redraft or rethink its clause which states that “a wager may be accepted from an individual who is not physically present in this state … including any foreign nation,” and according to some its passing may even require a public ballot within the state.

Michigan Gaming Control Board Deputy Director David Murley described the ‘pool-sharing scenario as one which “raises significant legal and policy questions” that would “need to be carefully considered.”

Of the states which currently allow and regulate online poker, players must be physically within state borders to participate, but despite these possible drawbacks the general mood regarding Michigan is one of optimism in the pro-poker lobby.

As with California, there will doubtless be tribal gaming issues to resolve along the way. California’s new bill, AB2863, seeks to get around some of the problems they faced last year by apportioning up to $60million of revenue annually to the racetracks, with the proviso being that racetracks will not have access to the online market – only the tribal casinos and cardrooms would have this access.

Similar financial incentives and deals will doubtless form part of Michigan’s efforts over the summer, Kowall’s bill providing for “up to eight online gaming licenses to be issued to existing casino licensees or to federally recognized Michigan Indian tribes that manage a gambling venue in the state.”

The bill also proposes that:

In order to protect residents of this state who wager on games of chance and skill through the Internet and to capture revenues and create jobs generated from Internet gaming, it is in the best interest of this state and its citizens to regulate this activity by authorizing and establishing a secure, responsible, fair, and legal system of Internet gaming that complies with the United States Department of Justice’s September 2011 opinion concerning 18 USC 1084.”

The fact that Michigan last year expanded its lottery into online sales, and is also currently discussing Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) legislation, bodes reasonably well for the online poker community, and PokerTube will keep you updated with any further developments as they happen.

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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