Last week, the Governor of Michigan Rick Snyder vetoed the proposed online gambling bill HB 4611 on his way out the institution.
Despite the local Legislature gave the nod to the desired gambling sector expansion with massive support of the proposed bill in both chambers on December 21st, Governor Snyder made a surprising decision during the Christmas break. He vetoed a large number of bills, including the online gambling package, justifying his actions in terms of the gambling expansion with the rising concerns over the implications related to the Michigan Lottery.
OH in Michigan House: "Oh, sweet. That's my bill. That's my bill right there." #Lameduck
— Jim Malewitz (@Jmalewitz) December 20, 2018
The efforts for the addition of legal iGambling operations to the state were temporarily put on hold by the veto, with the outgoing Governor citing fears that online gambling might seriously hurt revenue generated from the official Michigan Lottery. According to opponents of the measure, online gambling which would also include sports betting would cannibalize lottery revenue used to fund public schools in the state of Michigan.
Online Gambling Measure Delayed by at Least a Year
The veto imposed by Governor Rick Snyder is to effectively delay the measure’s introduction into law by at least a year.
At the time when the decision was announced, the Republican Party member Brandt Iden, who was the measure’s sponsor, confirmed that the veto applied to his entire gaming package. Mr. Iden described the step as “incredibly disappointing” and shared that there had been no indications for such a decision.
The sponsor of the online gambling bill HB 4611 further revealed that he intends to reintroduce the measure along with a sports betting bill at the beginning of the 2019 legislative session, hoping that Michigan legislators will favor the package once again. Apart from that, hopes still remain that the incoming Governor Gretchen Whitmer will be more open and responsive to the expansion of the local gambling sector in comparison to her predecessor.
Apart from that, Synder’s actions cost Michigan’s coffers millions of dollars that could have been brought in as tax revenue. The outgoing Governor’s decision is also considered to have harmed the retail gambling companies which already operate throughout the state and could have drawn benefit from the legalization, not to mention that it cost thousands of new jobs that could have been created in the state.
HBPA Also Criticizes Veto Imposed by Governor Snyder
The veto imposed by Governor Synder at the end of 2018 came as a major setback for online gambling in Michigan. The state was set to join a number of other states, including New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada and Pennsylvania, in offering legal online casino, poker and daily fantasy sports services to local residents. In addition, the proposed and now shelved piece of legislation set the groundwork for the addition of sports betting at a later stage.
As mentioned above, the decision for the veto came as a shock to everyone and was criticized by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA). The President of HBPA’s branch in the state of Michigan, George Kutlenios, wrote that turning the bill into law would have provided support from the local horse racing industry, as it would have modernized the Horse Racing Act.
According to Mr. Kutlenios, the industry had not been able to become more up-to-date by itself because of some restrictions included in the provisions of the Horse Racing Act. The proposed online gambling bill would have permitted Advanced Deposit Wagering (ADW), which is currently available in almost every US state, and this would have been beneficial for the state’s horse racing industry which has been part of Michigan’s history for more than 80 years.