Michigan’s Senate is the Last Stop for Legalizing Betting and iGaming in This State

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December 11th, 2019
Back Michigan’s Senate is the Last Stop for Legalizing Betting and iGaming in This State

December 11th is marked as an expected date for Michigan’s Senate to pass bills required for legalizing sports wagering and online gaming. Regulatory Reform Committee has already given its approval to several amendments to each piece of legislation and now it's up to the state’s Senate to make the final move.

As changes have been made to the bills, following expected Senate approval, they will both be sent to the House for concurrence. If the House agrees to the amendments, the bills will then progress forward to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for signature.

Amended Bill That Benefit Operators

House Bill 4916 is also known as the Lawful Sports Betting Act. After months of discussions, the bill has finally been amended and ready to be approved by the Senate. By those changes, operators that secure a license in the state would be subject to lower tax rates than initially proposed.

To recall…

… the state of Michigan wanted to impose an 8.75% tax on gross revenue from sports bets. According to the new amendments, that tax was reduced to 8.4%.

House Bill 4916 was submitted to the Committee on September 5th, which progressed it further on September 17. With the newest amendments, it is expected that the bill will finally be accepted by the state’s Senate on December 11th.

Besides approving sports wagering...

...the bill also allows in-play and pre-game betting. In accordance with House Bill 4916, there would be a new body in charge as the new regulator on this state’s market – The Division of Sports Betting.

When it comes to sports betting operators...

… a $200,000 license fee will be imposed, with the additional annual license renewal fee of $100,000.

Changes to the online gambling bill as well

Meanwhile...

… House Bill 4311, which is regarding online gaming, has been also changed to address concerns previously flagged by Governor Whitmer. These issues were primarily related to the potential impact on the state lottery, as Michigan is only one of six states with an online lottery.

When it comes to wider tax measures, the bill sets out a tiered system as to how much operators will pay.

That scheme looks like this:

  • Operators with revenue under $4m will be subject to a tax rate of 20%
  • Those between $4m and $8m revenues will pay 22% tax
  • For gambling revenues between $8m and $10 tax rate is set at 24%
  • Casinos who reach the revenues between $10m and $12m will be paying at 26% tax and any of
  • For all gambling incomes exceeding the $12m, operators will have to pay a tax at 28% rate

These rates are significantly higher than the original rates proposed earlier in the year.

However, casinos were given a slight break. It is represented in the ability of online gaming operators to deduct free-play money given to customers through bonus promotions for a limited time.

Due to concerns that slot machines would be too similar to online lottery products already available in the state, the House also agreed for a tax rate on such games to be set at 40%.

Additionally, it has been agreed than $2m a year from online gaming tax revenue will be put towards the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund to help support firefighters undergoing cancer treatment.

Other aspects of the bill remain unchanged. Therefore, the license fees are being priced at $50,000 for application, $100,000 for the initial license and a $50,000 renewal fee each year after.

Source:

“Michigan edges closer to legal sports betting and igaming”, igamingbusiness.com, December 11, 2019.

“House Bill 4916 is also known as the Lawful Sports Betting Act”

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