Michigan Introduces Online Gaming Legislation

This week, Michigan introduced The Lawful Internet Gaming Act, that, if passed, would regulate many forms of online gaming including online poker.

A gaming bill similar to what is being proposed now was introduced last year. There appeared to be some momentum with the Michigan Senate Regulatory Reform Committee, who overwhelmingly approved an online poker and casino bill by an 8-1 vote. However, that is where the process stalled with neither house voting on the bill.

The Lawful Internet Gaming Act appears to have similar initial momentum. Michigan State Senator Mike Kowall, who is on the Senate Committee, sponsored the bill which is co-sponsored by five other committee members including Rick Jones, Rebekah Warren, Marty Knollenberg, Curtis Hertel and Bert Johnson.

With just nine members on the committee and six involved in the bill’s sponsorship, the bill could once again move forward to the next steps of becoming a law.

Steve Ruddockoutlined the bill on Online Poker Report. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the bill for online poker enthusiasts is that it will be mandatory for licensed operators to offer online poker if they are offering other regulated online gaming services as well.

Most of the other portions of the bill appear to be similar to last year’s proposal. Only land-based casinos in Michigan can apply for a license; however, there will be no cap on the number of licenses.

Fees for operators appear reasonable with a five-year license costing $200,000 for the first year and $100,000 in subsequent years. Ruddock points out that this is much cheaper than what is being proposed in three other states with online gaming regulation being proposed. California is asking for $12.5 million up front, New York is asking for $10 million and Pennsylvania is asking for $8 million.

Platform licenses will run $100,000 for the first year and $50,000 in subsequent years, while vendor licenses will be $5,000 and $2,500 in subsequent years.

Players will be required to be at least 21 years old in order to play on regulated online gaming sites, similar to what is the case in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey, which all allow for regulated online gaming. Additionally, the bill allows for compacts with other states.

Stay tuned at PokerNews as more develops in Michigan.

*Lead image courtesy of hipmunk.com.

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