Legal Online Gambling Balancing Act Starting To Wobble
Added: May 8, 2017
Wobble so much that it could in fact turn out to upend and spell the end of what looked to a promising path for legal online casino action in the state of Michigan. Following is what this is all about.
As you may already know there was a legislative Bill in play in Michigan, the Lawful Internet Gaming Act. Many online gambling pundits have commented this could be a significant step forward for statewide legal online casino action. However, as it turns out there are some recently identified issues with the Bill that could prove fatal.
The first such issue with Senate Bill 203 (also referred to as the Lawful Internet Gaming Act) is an unmistakable erosion of the long accepted sovereignty of Michigan’s 12 American Indian tribes. You see, the current language in Senate Bill 203 would impose Michigan taxes and regulations. Naturally, you can readily understand that is a clear violation of federal law.
Another issue with Senate Bill 203, at least as the Bill is currently written concerns the revenue split with the State of Michigan. According to none other than the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency, no less than five of the state’s 12 American Indian tribes are currently operating under expired tribal state regulatory compacts.
In addition to all of that, the Senate Fiscal Agency (SFA) also outline the what it identified as legal and regulatory challenges to full passage of Bill 203. In essence, the most significant significant challenge for Bill 203 lies in drafting clear language that governs existing commercial casinos in Michigan while at the same time governs Michigan tribal casinos currently operating under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). In other words, the issue comes down to how best to blend both state and federal law into one Bill.
For the record, there are three commercial casinos and twenty-three tribal gaming facilities in Michigan. Reportedly, these casinos and gaming facilities are either in direct opposition to Bill 203 or are neutral.
It is important to understand that it is not clear whether or not the further expansion of legal online gambling in Michigan will require an amendment to the state constitution. Understandably that would entail local and state wide ballot initiatives.
As you can plainly see from the above, despite early hopes for the expansion of legal online casino action in Michigan there are some rather significant hurdles that will have to be overcome first. This is certainly a State to watch further as the year progresses.