Michigan Pushes Amended Online Poker Bill

michiganEarlier this year, the Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall of Michigan introduced S 203, a bill that proposed to introduce and regulate online gambling in the state. While the bill was passed by the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee, any other progress came to a halt, and it was expected that nothing more would come of it.

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However, last week, new stirrings of life from Michigan’s efforts to push for online poker were heard, after an amended S 203 was introduced.

In terms of features, the bill is similar to the one introduced in March. State regulators are being asked to set out laws that would allow licensed operators to run online gambling sites. The sites would be up and running within one year of the law being introduced, and there is no mention on a maximum number of licensed operators. The law allows only licensed Michigan casinos to operate online gambling sites. Players need to be at least 21 years of age in order to play for real money, and S 203 also allows Michigan to enter into inter-state compacts to increase it player pools.

So what is different this time around? The amended S 203 seems to focus on efforts to bridge the gap between Michigan’s land casinos and tribal casinos. Tribes will now be allowed to offer online gambling as self-regulated entities after amending their existing compacts with the state. They will, however, have to abide by all the regulations that state-licensed online gambling sites have to follow.

The House and Senate seem to support the introduction of online gambling in Michigan, although the bill has seen more support in the Senate. It is unclear how Governor Rick Snyder feels about the issue since has remained mostly silent. Efforts to pass a similar bill last year failed, and analysts are not too optimistic about this year either.

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