Governor Gretchen Whitmer will decide if Michigan should legalize online gambling and sports betting. The Legislature has been working on these bills for years. Then Governor Rick Snyder vetoed similar bills during his final month in office last year.
Whitmer and supporters in the Legislature have been working on the bills for months. Whitmer has been concerned that the new methods of gambling would draw money away from the state Lottery. The Lottery puts money toward the School Aid Fund.
But now there appears to be a compromise. A spokeswoman for Whitmer would not say if the governor would sign the bill, but she did call the plan “a good bipartisan solution.”
Democratic Senator Curtis Hertel helped negotiate the compromise.
“Here’s the reality: People in Michigan are gambling, I don’t think there are a whole lot of people who aren’t involved in either a March Madness pool or a Bowl pool or something else. This just provides a legal avenue for it.”
The bills provide a set tax rate on sports betting and a sliding scale rate for online gaming. The bills also provide money for people with gambling addiction.
The bills include a provision that lifts the ban on campaign donations by people or organizations with casino licenses.
Despite extensive changes made to the bills over the last few months, some lawmakers still opposed most of the bills. Like Republican Senator Ed McBroom.
“I don’t believe that organized, state sponsored gambling is good for the state.”
The bills had been held up for months over how much to tax the games. Whitmer was concerned about the new avenues for gambling taking away from the state lottery, which gives some money to the School Aid fund. But supporters say the bills will not negatively impact the School Aid Fund.
One bill also gets rid of a ban that prevents people with criminal convictions from getting a casino, supplier, or occupational license after a certain period of time.
Democratic Senator Jeremy Moss voted in favor.
“We’ve actually provided a path to employment for people here in Michigan, so there’s a big criminal justice element to this as well.”
A spokeswoman for Whitmer said in a statement that it’s a good bipartisan solution.