Michigan legislators worked hard in the final days of the 2018 legislative session to pass a bill that would have legalized online gambling in the state. The bill was expected to be signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder before his term ended on December 31. Instead, Snyder vetoed 40 bills on his way out the door, one of which was the bill that would have made online blackjack legal in Michigan.
Michigan Lawmakers Want to Legalize Online Gambling
The possibility of online gambling legalization in Michigan has been in the works for several years now as more US states embrace online casinos as a source of revenue. States like Nevada and New Jersey have been joined by Pennsylvania and other jurisdictions in an effort to capitalize on online gambling revenues. Blackjack has long been the most popular card game played for real money online, and many variations of the game can be found in states where online play is legal.
As 2018 drew to a close the legislative body in Michigan worked late into the night before breaking for the Christmas holidays. One of their primary goals was to craft an online gambling bill that would allow Internet betting on casino games like blackjack, slot, and craps. The bill received bipartisan support and sought to add a new division to the Michigan Gaming Control Board that would oversee online wagering.
Like other states, the bill called for existing land-based casinos to operate the online gaming venues. The games would have been open to any resident of Michigan that was 21 years of age or older. The bill taxed revenues from online gambling at 8%. 30% of the revenues collected from each online gaming venue would be allocated to the city in which the physical casino was located. Lawmakers saw an opportunity to have a positive economic impact on some of Michigan’s more troubled economies.
This would have particularly benefited Detroit, a city that has been decimated by economic difficulties in the past decade. Lawmakers believed that the additional revenues created by online gambling could have led to more job creation in the city.
Schools and roads were also to be beneficiaries of the online gambling bill. It also allocated a portion of revenues to the development of horse racing in the state. Everyone seemed to be pleased with how the revenues were allocated except for Governor Snyder.
Governor Snyder Says No to Online Blackjack in Michigan
Governor Synder wasted no time in making the most of his lame duck exit from the state capitol. Rather than approve the legislation like everyone expected, Snyder vetoed the online gambling bill. It will now have to be reconsidered by Michigan lawmakers during another legislative session. Many have proposed theories about why the Governor would veto the bill.
Some believe that the online gambling bill in Michigan was vetoed because the Michigan Lottery raised concerns. Governor Synder even went so far as to say he was protecting the Michigan Lottery, although from what he would not say. Some believe that legalized online gambling has the potential to affect the sales of lottery tickets, but in other states where online gambling has become legal this is not the case. Snyder also stated that he was unclear on how some of the revenues and taxes would be collected and disbursed.
The Future of Online Blackjack in Michigan
It would appear that residents of Michigan will have to wait for a while to play blackjack legally online. The bill would need to be introduced again in 2019, and lawmakers would then have to approve it before it could be sent to the new governor to become law. This process could take most of 2019, leaving Michigan residents with few options to bet blackjack online.
Some have pointed out that the state stands to lose online blackjack revenues to online casinos that accept US players. While the legality of this is still murky, many US players have online gambling accounts that they regularly use. Counting Edge recommends some online casinos that welcome US players.
There doesn’t seem to be any way to prevent US players from betting online, and many states are beginning to realize this. 2018 saw multiple states legalize online sports betting. Fantasy sports betting also became approved in more states, and full-on online casino gambling is on tap to debut in more states this spring.
Ever since the US moved to shut down online poker its citizens have sought out other online gambling options. Most of these casinos are based overseas. Many online casinos are now accepting Bitcoin as a form of deposit, and this makes it even easier for US players to create an account and wager.