- State lawmakers to decide on whether to bring online gambling to residents
- Only Michigan-based casinos will be eligible for a license – for now
Soon, Michigan lawmakers will meet to vote on whether or not the ‘Wolverine State’ should legalise most forms of online gambling.
The bill, if passed, calls for state regulators to develop new rules to govern licensing and the operation of internet-based gambling sites within a year of the act becoming law.
Only Michigan casinos will be eligible for a license but there will be no cap on the total number of licenses issued. Each five-year license will initially sell for $200,000 for the first year, reduced to $100,000 annually thereafter.
This has led to speculation that Michigan may in fact be trying to entice brick and mortar casinos across the state lines. In comparison to other states, Michigan is offering drastically lower licensing fees.
For example, New York, California and Pennsylvania – which are all working towards their own online gambling legislation bills – are asking for $10 million, $12.5 million and $8 million respectively.
Michigan is also proposing a low tax rate of just 10% of gross online gaming revenue, which is sure to be enticing to many out-of-state operators.
Platform licenses will also be available for $100,000 for the first year and $50,000 annually thereafter. Vendor licenses will be much cheaper at $5,000 and later on $2,500 per year.
Surprisingly, but certainly welcome to America’s online poker players, the bill demands that all operators offer poker as one of their games. Much less surprisingly, the act recognises 21 as the age for legal online gambling.
The bill was originally proposed last year but stalled when neither house voted on the issue due to lack of time. Proposing Senator Mike Kowall, though, has re-issued the bill a month earlier this year and there is greater confidence it will now proceed to a full vote.
If passed it will be only the fourth state in America to legalise online gambling behind Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey.
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