Third Term For Rep. Brandt Iden Keeps Michigan Online Gambling In Play

Michigan Online GamblingMichigan Online Gambling

Rep. Brandt Iden kept his seat in the Michigan statehouse by the narrowest of margins in Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Numbers out of the 61st District show the Republican incumbent as the winner by fewer than 1,300 votes (51%-49%) against Democratic challenger Alberta Griffin.

The district has been closely contested in all Iden’s three races, electing him by fewer than 2,500 votes in 2014 and 2016. This 2018 battle remained undecided immediately before closing in his favor late Wednesday morning. Data comes from the New York Times.

For the gambling industry that is local, this is a outcome. Iden has been the linchpin for relevant legislation in Michigan, a key proponent of both online gambling and sports betting.

What are the odds for Michigan online gambling?

Tuesday’s results are certainly favorable for those looking to expand gambling in the state. Rep. Iden’s online gambling bill from 2017 (H 4926) represents the most serious, sweeping attempt to authorize casino-style iGaming in the state.

The so-called Lawful Internet Gaming Act made any forward progress this season, too. The proposal cleared the House by a comfortable 68-40 vote in June before stalling in its first Senate committee. A different but similar measure in the upper room (S 203) did advance by means of a committee but failed to reach the floor.

So although the finish line has been elusive, there’s at least some desire for Michigan online gambling — even apart from Iden. His presence, however, will continue to serve as the anchor for the issue in Lansing for the next two decades.

It’s complicated…

That having been said, supporters have a tough road in front of them.

Any growth in Michigan is complicated with constitutional language and, perhaps more importantly, the dense tribal gaming landscape. Some analysts still maintain reservations about potential cannibalization of Detroit casinos and the Michigan online lottery, too.

Those concerns have been debunked in markets like New Jersey, but they linger.

It’s also worth mentioning that 2017-18 invoices don’t carryover to odd years in Michigan, so Iden would need to start the process anew when he attempts to sponsor more gambling legislation in 2019.

Gambling measures decided directly elsewhere

Iden’s re-election should help maintain Michigan’s apparent momentum toward growth. And gambling issues were more directly on the ballot in some other states, too.

In Florida, voters said yes to Amendment 3 for a means to regain control over the future of their industry. Disney and the Seminole Tribe spent over $15 million apiece to strip the legislature of its capability to introduce new gambling laws. Voters now have the exclusive authority to initiate future growth, including for online gambling and sports betting.

Arkansas, however, should have legal sports betting in 2019. Voters approved Issue 4, authorizing casino gambling and sports betting at four locations in the state. Regulators have until June 1 of next year to start fielding applications.

And in Louisiana, daily fantasy sports was up for a vote in each individual parish. The proposal found patchwork approval in 47 of the 64 authorities, covering the majority of the nation’s population centers. So, DFS is now legal in some of Louisiana, at least.

Cleaning up the other ballot initiatives related to gambling:

Idaho voters rejected a measure to allow historic horse racing kiosks.Maryland voters approved a measure to direct a video lottery revenue to education.Missouri voters approved a measure related to bingo.

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