In 2016, the state of Michigan tried to pass a measure that would legalize online gambling, but efforts failed as the bill was unable to move forward before time ran out. It seems legislators are at it again this year, with a new bill having been introduced this week, the Lawful Internet Gaming Act.
The new measure was introduced by Senator Mike Kowall, the legislator who was behind the efforts for online poker legalization last year. Kowall is on the Senate Committee and his measure already has five co-sponsors, each of which are committee members. The co-sponsors include Bert Johnson, Marty Knollenberg, Rick Jones, Curtis Hertel and Rebekah Warren. There are only nine members on the committee, with the majority involved in the sponsorship of the new bill, which means the measure has a good chance of moving forward.
The bill was outlined by Online Poker Report writer Steve Ruddock, who pointed out that the measure would make it mandatory for licensed operators to provide online poker gaming if they offer other regulated online gaming services. Land-based casinos in the state would be allowed to apply for licensing and there is no cap on the number of licenses that would be made available.
The bill lists the operator fees for online gaming, including a five year licensing fee that will initially cost $200,000 for the first year and $100,000 for the years following. A platform license will cost $100,000 for the first year and $50,000 for the remainder with vendors paying up $5,000 for the first year and $2,500 for the following years.
Like other states that offer online gaming, Michigan will set a gambling age of 21 years or older. The state will also be open to create compacts for shared player liquidity with other states.
Michigan now joins other states such as Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, New York, Hawaii and New Hampshire in efforts to pass online poker legislation in 2017.
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