Online Gambling Legalization Still A Possibility Despite Michigan Bill Veto

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Michigan State Senate

2018 was a dismal year for the Michigan gambling industry. Just days after the introduction of The Michigan Online Gambling Bill in the Michigan Senate, Governor Rick Snyder crumbled all hopes of legalization by vetoing the bill, effectively ending Michigan’s participation in the race to legalize online gambling and sports betting.

However, as Republican Senator Mike Kowall puts it in his address to the public in the Opinions section of The Detroit News, “The coalition of Democrats and Republicans we have forged in the state supportive of online gambling legalization has become too large to ignore, so the measure will get through the governmental process sooner rather than later.

The Michigan Online Gambling Bill was part of a 40-bill package that was vetoed by Governor Snyder in late December 2018. In fact, reports indicate that every betting and gambling related bill proposed by Republican Senator Brandt Iden was vetoed by Governor Snyder.

The legalization of online gambling has been a much-awaited event in Michigan and the vetoing has been a massive blow for the State’s economy. As of today, Detroit has the largest municipal debt in all of America, standing somewhere between $18 and $20 million. This is excluding the millions of dollars the city is yet to pay, as part of their 2016 $617 million public school district bailout, $160 million yearly payments towards the pension system and $70 million in unaddressed debts. Senator Kowall believes that the potential revenues that online gambling would bring in, would help yank Detroit out of this colossal debt.

The supporters of online gambling legalization believe that online gambling would act as a complementary wing to the state’s physical gambling facilities. Online gambling, when legal, will give players more avenues to spend, thereby helping fuel the incoming revenues for the State.

In his article, Senator Kowall also addresses another key consideration, which makes players and casino operators hopeful that legalization may be in the offing. The Senator points out that legalization of online gambling will hardly be a “sanctification of vice.” Michigan has one of the highest concentration of gamblers in America, who frequent physical casinos regularly. Making available legal online gambling services will only help the State control and regulate the existing unregulated markets.

The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) recently confirmed that illegal gambling would be easier to detect online than offline. This is something that, believes Senator Kowall, will make the Michigan gambling industry a safer and more welcoming marketplace for everyone involved.


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