Gambling expansion on hold until after budget drama ends

Sep 18, 2019

Discussions to bring sports betting and online gaming to the state are on hold until Michigan has a budget.

Credit Flicker

A package of bills would expand gambling options in Michigan and allow for things like online gaming and sports betting. All the bills are now waiting in the House Ways and Means committee for further action once the contentious budget process is over.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she’s concerned new gambling options would take money away from the state lottery. A portion of lottery revenue goes to schools. So, Whitmer wants a higher tax rate on the establishments that would offer the new gambling options.

Republican Rep. Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Township) says he’s willing to negotiate.

“We just have to get a reasonable number to then be able to negotiate from and move forward and that’s what I’m looking to do,” Iden says. He wants the bill package finalized by the end of the year.

Democratic Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) shares Whitmer’s concerns about the bills.

“I think most of us will be on board and support this if we can come to a higher ground on that taxation rate,” Cambensy says.

Iden attempted to pass similar legislation last term, but it was vetoed by former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.