Michigan legalizes online gambling

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — It appears the third time is the charm as Michigan’s Legislature voted to legalize online gambling and sports betting.

The idea has received majority votes twice before but has been vetoed.

Now, the bill sponsor, Rep. Brandt Iden, has reached a deal with the Governor that will clear the way for the state to enter the age of cyber gambling.

The major objection has been the concern that online gambling would cut into lotto receipts. That money is used to supplement the school aid fund and the fear of less money for schools was a big stumbling block.

How, and how much to tax gambling done online was the sticking point, until an agreement with Gov. Whitmer resulted in a formula that all sides believe will hold schools harmless.

Still some oppose the idea of state sponsored gambling.

“The whole industry is based on the concept of how much money can we extract from people and particularly vulnerable people,” Republican Senator Ed McBroom of Waucedah Township, said.

But East Lansing Democrat Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. thinks the bills have adequate safeguards.

“There’s money in the bills for problem gambling and that obviously does happen to some people, but I don’t think we can prevent everybody else from doing something that they find entertaining,” he said.

When all the bills are finalized, the sports betting will be taxed 8.4 percent under the bills. Internet poker and other games played online would be taxed between 20 and 28 percent.

The majority of that new revenue would go into the school aid fund, presumably making up for any drop off that might be experienced from the lottery.

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