The Michigan Senate Regulatory Reform Committee approved the online gambling (casino / poker) and sports betting bill of the state on Tuesday, setting up senate votes as possibly as early as Wednesday (11), followed by the House of Representatives competition votes. It is expected that both bills would pass without a lot of opposition.
Digital gamblers from Michigan have seen this film before, just to have their dreams cruelly shattered last December when back then, Gov. at the last minute, Rick Snyder vetoed the bill. Current Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, however, publicly indicated her intention to sign all bills on her desk should they arrive.
Whitmer had previously shown no enthusiasm for online casino gaming, calling for overly high tax rates to guarantee that the new options would not be eaten in the online games of the Michigan Lottery. State Rep. Brandt Iden, one of the key movers behind the gambling legalisation efforts in Michigan, seems to have figured out a plan with which all parties can live with.
Under the amended version approved by the committee on Tuesday, online gambling companies must pay a tiered tax rate for annual revenue below $4 million beginning at 20 percent. The rate for revenue rises to 22 percent between $4 m and $8 m, rising in increments of 2 percent to a 28 percent increase over revenue above $12 m.
Previous versions of Iden’s bill envisaged a rate beginning at 12 percent and ending at 23 percent, but obviously the tribal casinos of the state and the three commercial operators in Detroit considered the move reasonable enough not to pose any significant objections to development. (Commercial operators will pay Detroit’s municipal government an additional 3.25% tax.)
Casinos managed to wrangle a temporary window in which they could deduct some of their free-play promotional gifts to customers when calculating their gross income. These deductions in the first three years can not exceed 10% of revenue, falling to 6% in the fourth year and to 4% in the fifth year. Nothing after that.
The casinos have picked up a small discount on their sports betting tax rate, which fell from 8.75% to 8.4%. (Again, Detroit casinos must pay an additional 3.25 percent.) The betting bill maintains the contentious provision that all sportsbooks use the data supplied by the league for in-play wagering purposes, so that the leagues make this data available on’ commercially reasonable terms.’ The state must follow a common fee structure for both online gambling and sports betting licences: $50k for online wagering licences.
As for any concerns that Whitmer would set up Iden for a fall, her spokeswoman Tiffany Brown said Tuesday that Whitmer regarded the current legislative draughts as “a good bipartisan solution’ and the governor looked forward to “closely reviewing this package once it hits her desk.” Michigan legislators passed one gambling bill on Tuesday, approving a proposal to lift the ban.