Internet Gaming Legislation in Michigan
On September 12, 2017, House Bill 4926 (“HB 4926”) was introduced into the Michigan legislature by Representatives Iden, Crawford, Kosowski and Kesto. The bill seeks to legalize internet gaming, and impose taxes and fees on internet gaming operators. HB 4926 includes language that would give state regulators up to one year to promulgate rules and regulations that would cover the licensing and operation of online gaming sites.
This language follows that of Senate Bill 203 (“SB 203”), which was introduced by Senator Kowall, the Senate Majority Floor Leader for the Michigan Senate, that would only allow online skill games to be operated by licensed casinos and tribes in Michigan.
These bills raise serious concerns to skill gaming operators. Each broadly defines an “internet game” to mean “a game of skill or chance that is offered for play through the internet in which a person wagers money or something of monetary value for the opportunity to win money or something of monetary value.” Given the broad definition of “internet game,” and the fact that only Michigan gaming licensees can offer such games, these bills would limit the offering of existing online contests of skill to only licensed casinos and tribes.
If this legislation is of concern and you would like to explore the retention of lobbying representation, either alone or in collaboration with other operators in the skill-gaming space, please contact us: Tony Cabot at ACabot@lrrc.com or Karl Rutledge at KRutledge@lrrc.com.