Will Elections Spell Doom For Michigan Online Gambling And Sports Betting?

Michigan online gamblingMichigan online gambling

Compared fantasy sports and sports betting, the legalization of gambling has moved at a snail’s pace to.

New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware started offering legal online gambling in 2013. Pennsylvania will combine them sometime in the first half of 2019. Beyond that, there hasn’t been much progress.

Michigan was considered a strong candidate, though. It is one of two countries with active online gambling bills on file — Illinois is another — but action this year and beyond is beginning to seem less likely.

Unresolved problems for Michigan gambling

The Michigan House of Representatives passed an online gambling and sports betting expansion bill (H 4926) back in June. At the time, there was some expectation that the measure would be taken up by the Senate during the lame-duck session post-election.

Regardless of the movement earlier this year, the Wolverine State has been trending downward for many months.

Commercial operators and michigan tribal remain at odds over some particulars of the bill dealing with compacts and timelines for launching. Beyond these squabbles, neither side has provided support.

There is also lingering uncertainty over the constitutionality of the bill and whether it represents an expansion of gambling. Local legal experts that talked with GamblingCompliance (paywall) earlier this year think it will.

Based on GC’s reporting,”the main legal argument — that a public vote is essential for internet gambling laws to become law in Michigan — is sound and could prove persuasive in potential state court battles over online gambling policy.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brandt Iden disagreed at a May interview with Online Poker Report:

“I think the bill we will pass and the governor signs will be a bill that is fully constitutional and will withstand a court challenge. I anticipate opponents of the legislation will want it to go before the courts as they have in other states, and they will lose as they lost in other states. Opponents have attempted to discredit this problem, making a case for the bill not being constitutional and engaging members in these states, and at the day’s end they have lost that argument time and time again. I’m confident that if they try it on my bill that they will lose again.”

Iden reiterated his belief that online gambling does not require a constitutional amendment at the NCLGS conference in July.

Online gambling unlikely to be a priority in 2019

The situation is much more tenuous moving.

Anticipate high turnover in the Senate and the home, where term limits are in play. That has some pundits predicting incumbent Senators to hold only one third of seats after the November 6 elections.

Further, in the current political climate, these lawmakers will head to Lansing with a mandate from voters. Online gambling isn’t going to become a part of that mandate. And if governorship and the legislature flip, Republican majorities would concentrate on more important policy items .

On a micro level, online gambling could lose an integral supporter. Rep. Iden is in a tough race that is trending toward his opponent, who had been endorsed by Barack Obama.

Heard Iden was down 12 points now. YIKES!!

— Steve Brubaker (@SteveBrubaker) October 9, 2018

Gambling legislation has been shepherded by iden through the House. If he be unseated, stakeholders would have to educate lawmakers and discover a champion.

Some positive signs, though

On the other hand, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, paths Democrat Gretchen Whitmer by almost 10 points in Real Clear Politics polling. Schuette is an unabashed opponent of gambling.

Online gambling could piggyback sports betting off.

Sports betting is a much sexier topic at the moment, and at least a dozen countries are likely next year to introduce legislation . Whether intertwined, however, remains to be seen.

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