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In a recent meeting of the House Regulatory Reform Committee, Rep. Brandt Iden, a Republican told a story of how he traveled to Indiana, just one mile over the border from Michigan to make a series of bets over the weekend.
Rep. Iden has been the mastermind behind the push to get legalized sports betting into Michigan and his story underlined how easy it is for millions of entertainment dollars to leave the state.
If Iden has his way, Michigan legislators will adopt his bill that could put sportsbooks into business in the state by February of 2020.
“My goal is to have this up and running by the Super Bowl. Casinos are moving forward because they know it’s going to come to fruition at some point,” he told the committee.
“If we don’t do this, we will continue to lose consumers to other states, just like you lost me to Indiana last weekend.”
Rep. Iden’s bill is a broad sports betting legalization that would open the door for fantasy sports and online gambling at Detroit’s three casinos and across the state’s 23 tribal casinos.
Iden was able to pass through a few betting bills last year, only to see them vetoed by former Governor Rick Snyder.
Former Gov. Snyder believed that widespread sports betting will create a loss of revenue for the state’s lottery system that benefits school systems in Michigan.
But with a new governor in office, Rep. Iden feels that the bill has a chance to get passed.
Iden’s measure calls for an 8% tax on sports betting revenue from the casinos. Early estimates believe that rate will generate anywhere from $8.7 million to $11.2 million for the state’s education system.
Although the new governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, has shown interest in legalizing betting in the state, her administration as stated that the 8% tax rate is far too low.
Whitmer would like to see a tax rate that is close to double the current proposed number, settling somewhere around 15%.
Iden told the Detroit Free Press that the 15% tax rate is a non-starter.
“I haven’t talked with the administration since before the summer break and they proposed 15%, plus the additional 3.25% for the city of Detroit,” Iden said. “That’s an astronomical rate which just will not work — that number has to be somewhere closer to 9% or 9.5%.”
“The tax rate has become a key issue with the administration and I haven’t advanced other bills to the floor until I reach an agreement with the administration,” Iden continued.
“It’s disappointing that it’s stalled out at this point in time, and I won’t advance this until we find some resolution.”
It appears that until the dueling tax rate problem is addressed, Michigan bettors could be sitting on the sidelines when the Super Bowl makes its way to Miami on February 2nd, 2020.
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