Michigan is keen on legalising sports betting and creating another revenue stream that will benefit the state budget. However, there hasn’t been a lot of progress in getting sports betting legalised.
One man who has worked tirelessly to get sports betting legalised in Michigan is Representative Brandt Iden, R-Kalamazoo.
He remains positive that Michigan will legalise sports betting and if he can get his way that will happen before the end of 2019.
Iden is aware of the fact that offshore betting operators run an illegal and lucrative sports betting operation in Michigan.
He wants to put a stop to this by introducing legalised betting websites that will offer better protection to bettors in the state. He has introduced a sports betting bill that will do just that.
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There were lengthy discussions that took place on the proposed bill but when the budget was introduced, the sports betting bill took a backseat. Now that the budget discussions are over, Rep Iden believes it is the right time to resume discussions on legalised sports betting and see if the bill can be passed this year.
Multiple Challenges Must Be Addressed
However, the bill that Iden has been pushing has faced several setbacks. One of the concerns is how much sports betting operators would have to pay in betting taxes. The bill that Iden introduced has set the tax at 8 percent which Governor Gretchen Whitmer thinks it way too low.
The Governor wants a 15 percent tax imposed but that could be a little too high given the fact that Detroit already has a 3.25 percent additional tax for its three major casinos. This means that Detroit sports betting operators will be taxed at 18.25 percent.
This clash over sports betting taxes is the main obstacle right now for the approval of sports betting legalisation. Iden is willing to compromise though as he is willing to meet the Governor halfway on the proposed tax rate.
The governor’s office recently responded with a statement about the negotiations. The office says that the governor is open to further discussion and claim that they already have made suggestions about how to further change the bill but they did not receive a chance to review an updated bill.
The governor’s office says its main concern is how the bill would affect the funding of the School Aid Fund. Currently, the state’s lottery money goes to the School Aid Fund but legalising sports betting could potentially eliminate the lottery and result in a loss of income to the fund.