On Friday, Michigan State Senator Mike Kowall introduced Senate Bill No. 889, a measure that would regulate online poker sites within the state. The measure would allow groups operating land based casinos to offer online poker and casino gaming. The legislation has four-co sponsors and would mandate licensing and certification of operators wanting to engage in the activity.
Like other bills introduced in other states, Senate Bill 889 would establish taxes as well as fees on operators, plus have protections in place for consumers. The bill states that online wagering on games of chance and those of skill is a core form of entertainment for millions located around the world. The bill goes on to state the multiple jurisdictions around the world have legalized online gaming as well as regulated and taxed the activity, being able to generate billions for governments.
The bill mentions the re-interpretation from 2011 of the Wire Act of 1961, stating that it is in the best interest of the state as well as citizens of the state that the activity is regulated, staying in compliance with the decision of the Department of Justice in regards to the Act.
Licensing to offer online poker gaming in the state would be good for a five year time frame and have a fee of $5 million. Gross gaming revenues would be taxed at 10%. Tribal groups and commercial casinos would be able to offer online casino gaming, with eight licenses to be offered for gaming. Players would have to be 21 years of age or older to take part.
Michigan now joins a small list of other states considering online poker gaming legislation, including Pennsylvania and California. It will be interesting to see how this legislation moves forward and if Michigan will be the next to join Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware in offering online poker gaming.
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