Legal Sports Report

Future Of Michigan Sports Betting Bill Up In The Air For 2017

Michigan sports betting bill
Online gambling in Michigan moved forward last week, but the status of a bill to establish legal sports betting in the state is up in the air.

What happened with Michigan sports betting

Michigan joined a number of states eyeing the legalization of sports betting, either now or in the future, when a bill surfaced in January.

The sponsor of that legislation — state Rep. Robert Kosowski — was optimistic that he had a shot of moving his bill forward this year after it failed to do so in 2015.

His bill — H 4060 — got a hearing in front of the House Regulatory Reform Committee last week. However, the bill did not get a vote, and when — or even if — it will do so this year.

“I had the opportunity to testify in front of Chairman Brandt Iden and the other members of this committee to explain the potential of what House Bill 4060 could accomplish for Michigan and gaming as a whole,” Kosowski said in a statement about the hearing.

What’s next for Michigan sports betting

According to the office of Rep. Kosowski, the “progression of House Bill 4060 is at the discretion of the Chair.”

Whether Iden allows the bill to come up to a vote appears to hinge on if he believes it an issue worth moving forward on. That opinion could change based on whether Iden’s office believes it is an issue that constituents care about.

The bill as written, after all, appears to be a challenge (if enacted) to federal law — PASPA. That’s the law that prevents single-game sports wagering outside of Nevada. New Jersey is challenging that law in federal court.

For now, however, the bill is in limbo.

Other states and sports betting, fantasy sports

Despite the slowdown in Michigan, there is real momentum for sports betting in other states.

Several states — New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland — have legislation that would legalize sports betting should the federal climate change — via a new law or a ruling in the NJ sports betting case.

That’s in addition to nearly half the states that are considering fantasy sports legislation this year.

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.