MICHIGAN SPORTS BETTING BILL FAVORABLE FOR INDUSTRY
Legal Sports Report

Michigan Sports Betting En Route To Governor’s Desk After Wednesday Passage

Michigan sports betting

Michigan sports betting legislation is motoring through the state legislature Wednesday with the final course set for the governor’s desk.

The first stop was the Senate floor, where the bill to legalize and regulate retail and online sports betting passed by a vote of 35-3.

Next up is the Michigan House of Representatives, which sources tell LSR is expected to concur with changes made in the Senate. Today will be the last day of the state’s legislative session.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign the MI sports betting legislation next week.

Final details for Michigan sports betting bill

The Senate Regulatory Reform Committee amended H 4916, passed by the House in October, with substitute language on Tuesday. Final cleanup was done Wednesday in the Senate Committee of the Whole.

Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. told Legal Sports Report that the substitute language was agreed upon by industry stakeholders and the governor.

Michigan sports betting seemed to benefit from being part of a package with the internet gambling bill, also passed by the Michigan Senate on Wednesday. Taxes and fees are more favorable to the industry, making the higher rates of the iGaming bill easier to accept.

Details include:

  • Sports betting may be offered at Michigan’s three commercial casinos and 23 tribal casinos, pending licensure.
  • A sports betting operator may use no more than one internet sports betting platform.
  • A tax of 8.4% on adjusted gross sports betting receipts (commercial casinos pay an additional 1.25% city tax to Detroit, which legislators say is effectively 3.25%). Money given to customers for free-play promotions may be deducted from the gross receipts before taxes are levied.
  • Fees to offer sports betting include $50,000 for an initial application, $100,000 for the license and $50,000 annually.
  • The majority of state tax revenue from sports betting supports the School Aid Fund, while $2 million annually goes to the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund that helps firefighters undergoing cancer treatments.
  • Use of official league data is mandated for in-play wagers unless operators can convince the Michigan Gaming Control Board that data is being offered at commercially unreasonable terms.
  • If federal law allows (which it currently does not), the board may enter into agreements with other jurisdictions to offer multi-state sports betting.

Daily fantasy sports gets the green light in Michigan

The Michigan Senate also passed a bill to legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports officially.

DraftKings and FanDuel already are operating in the state. They will be taxed at 8.4%, the same rate as sports betting. Fees were lowered from the House bill to $20,000 for an initial license and $5,000 annually.

Hertel indicated that he cut fantasy sports fees to allow smaller daily fantasy companies to participate.

Governor expected to sign legislation

Hertel indicated that members of the administration, empowered by the governor, took part in meetings he facilitated to come to terms on a gaming package that Whitmer would support.

Tiffany Brown, a spokesperson for Whitmer, confirmed that the governor is on board with the changes made in the Senate, said in a statement:

“The governor is pleased with the progress made on gaming over the course of this year, particularly once Sen. Hertel and Rep. [Rebekah] Warren were able to engage and resolve key issues to get this package across the finish line. … This is a good, bipartisan solution made possible by working together on a complex issue, and the governor looks forward to closely reviewing this package once it hits her desk.”

Matthew Kredell
- Matthew started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News, where he covered the NFL, Kobe-Shaq three-peat, Pete Carroll’s USC football teams, USC basketball, pro tennis, Kings hockey and fulfilled his childhood dream of sitting in the Dodgers’ dugout. His reporting on efforts to legalize sports betting began in 2010, when Playboy Magazine flew him to Prague to hang out with online sportsbook pioneer Calvin Ayre and show how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting expansion of regulated sports betting across the country. A USC journalism alum, Matt also has written on a variety of topics for Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.
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