Michigan Representative, Brandt Iden, is soldiering forward in his bid to gain approval for his Michigan online casino gambling and sports betting legislation to be approved.
On May 8th 2016, he made his attempt at the state’s House of Representatives after his first effort supported by MGM Grand Detroit, Greektown Casino and Motor City Casino, made in September 2017, was also scuppered.
Just two weeks ago, Iden was optimistic of his chances of having bill H4926 for online casinos in MI passed; however, concerns arising from tribal objections and the constitutionality of the matter continues to frustrate his efforts.
Iden said that he had been pleased to have got the application for the bill onto the agenda for May 2016, and of having the opportunity to have it reviewed. He is now working through a list of questions posed by the representatives who had not been privy to the designated committee processes – a laborious undertaking by all accounts – until he can re-submit his motion prior to the summer break commencing on 21 June 2018.
So what, precisely, is the stumbling block in this legislative, sloth-like process?
Due to tribal sovereignty and the current constitutional allowance concerns, Iden’s new draft suggests that tribes should submit an application to the governor, asking that their contracts be revised to include online gambling in order to level the playing fields between themselves, and commercial gaming companies as equal participants. Iden said that he believes that adding internet gaming as an aspect to the provision for the tribal rights is essential –and that this should be addressed with each tribe individually to iron out their specific areas of concern. The tribes have neither strongly opposed online gambling, nor have they given it their overwhelming support at this time.
Iden also made mention of the importance of consultation with the tribes on all aspects of the development of the bill, so that their specific interests are borne in mind throughout the legislative process.
Tom Leonard, the Republican House Speaker, is not convinced of the constitutionality of an expansion of online gaming. In December 2016, he was the signatory to a letter addressed to Mike Pence asking for the revision of legislation from 2011, requesting that online gambling only be made applicable to MI sports betting sites and not all gambling.
Iden, who is also a Republican, was quick to add that Leonard had not attempted to block his efforts, but that their concern was to ensure complete compliance with legislative requirements.