Michigan online poker legalized finally

Online Gambling in Michigan

Nearly a year after a bill that would have legalized online poker in Michigan was vetoed at the last minute, a different bill got the sign off from the Governor.

A bill to legalize online gambling, including poker, passed the House and the Senate at the end of 2018. But it was axed by outgoing Governor Rick Snyder.

A new bill sponsored by Representative Brandt Iden made some necessary changes to the tax structure and once again passed through the House and the Senate with ease. After a few more tax adjustments the bill found its way to the desk of current Governor Gretchen Whitmer whose signature passed it into law.

The signing of the bill makes Michigan the sixth state to legalize online poker, joining Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have each had legal online poker for a number of years and have compacts to share player liquidity.

Pennsylvania after a lengthy wait launched online poker late this year, while they’re still waiting for launch day in West Virginia.

The big holdup for the passing of the bill known as HB4311 in Michigan was the potential effect it could have on the state school fund. The fund drew the majority of its funding from gambling and lotteries.

There was fear that the legalization of online gambling would cannibalize some of that funding, but Iden added new terms to the bill to ensure no funding for Michigan schools would be lost. A tiered tax structure was enacted that will see gross revenue on online gambling, including poker taxed between 20 and 28 percent.

The fee structure for casinos looking to get into online gambling includes a $50,000 application fee and $100,000 fee to obtain a license. They’d also be on the hook for a $50,000 annual renewal fee.

Any of the three commercial casinos or 23 tribal casinos are eligible to apply for a license. They can then partner with up to two operators to manage their online poker presence.

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