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Governor Rick Snyder vetoes Michigan online gaming bill

31 Dec 2018

By Dan Ippolito
If Snyder had signed off on the legislation, Michigan would have joined the list of U.S. states to approve online gambling.

If Snyder had signed off on the legislation, Michigan would have joined the list of U.S. states to approve online gambling. (photo by Wikimedia Commons)

Just before Christmas, Michigan’s state legislature approved an online gambling bill. However, on Friday, Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed nearly 40 bills, including House Bill 4926, which would have legalized intrastate gaming from Michigan’s state commercial and tribal casino operators.

Gov. Snyder gave his response to the matter in a letter, saying, “I do not think it is appropriate to sign legislation that will effectively result in more gambling, with a reasonable chance that the state could lose revenue that could be helpful in dealing with social service issues that are ordinarily attendant to increased gambling behavior.”

Snyder demonstrated his understanding for the time and effort put into the bills by saying, “A significant amount of work went into these bills and getting them to a place where several stakeholders either expressed support or neutrality, and I appreciate that many pro-gaming stakeholders coalesced around these bills.”

He continued, “However, due to largely unknown budgetary concerns, I believe this legislation merits more careful study and comparison with how other states have, or will, authorize online gaming. To be blunt, we simply don’t have the data to support this change at the time.”

If Snyder had signed off on the legislation, Michigan would have joined the list of U.S. states to approve online gambling. Another factor that Snyder referred to influencing his decision to veto was to protect the Michigan Lottery.

The bills that would have regulated Internet gaming in Michigan and most likely would have paved the way for sports gambling in the state were by state Reps. Brandt Iden and Klint Kesto. Another sports gambling-related bill sponsored by Iden, called the "Fantasy Contests Consumer Protection Act," would have regulated fantasy sports in Michigan, but Snyder returned it for approval.

Snyder's action comes just days before he will give up his office to Gretchen Whitmer on 1 January. It is likely that another attempt at an online gambling bill will occur once the legislation’s new session begins on 9 January.
 
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