Santa came early in Michigan.
Early Friday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the Lawful Sports Betting Act that legalizes Michigan sports betting. She also put pen to paper on bills to green-light online casinos, daily fantasy sports and online poker in Michigan.
Whitmer’s signatures pushed across the finish line this collection of bills that modernize the state’s gambling industry.
After governor approval, Michigan sports betting is en route
To be fair, Whitmer has long believed legalized sports betting should enter Michigan. As noted, however, she stood beside a higher tax rate from which stakeholders and lawmakers frequently tried to talk her down.
After months of rebuffing proposals to regulate wagering, and a year after the previous governor vetoed a similar bill, Whitmer finally came around with this latest package of bills.
As a result, Michigan becomes the ninth state in 2019 to legalize sports betting and the 20th state overall. It also becomes the fifth state to legalize online casinos and the sixth state to legalize online poker.
All told, this package of bills stands as the largest expansion of gambling ever seen in the state of Michigan.
A breakdown of Michigan sports betting
Earlier this month, Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. predicted to Legal Sports Report that the governor would sign off on these bills before Christmas. While Whitmer cut it close, she did, in fact, prove the senator correct.
As Hertel told LSR, the state aims to launch its retail sports betting industry in time for March Madness.
Under the newly signed bill, Michigan’s three commercial and 23 tribal casinos will be allowed to apply for brick-and-mortar and online wagering. Fees to do so include: $50,000 for application; $100,000 for licensing; and $50,000 annual renewal.
Operators will be limited to just one online sportsbook in the state, and all in-play wagers offered must use official league data.
As a perk for operators, Whitmer conceded to a lower tax rate. After advocating for upward of 15% in taxes, the governor signed off Friday on an 8.4% rate on adjusted gross sports betting receipts. Commercial casinos will pay an additional 1.25% city tax to Detroit.
More iGaming on the way in Michigan
As indicated, Whitmer also signed off on bills to legalize Michigan online casinos, online poker and daily fantasy sports.
Representing something of a compromise from lawmakers in order to establish lower sports betting taxes, iGaming will incur higher tax rates than initially proposed.
That tiered structure will range from 20% to 28%.
Regardless, each casino in the state will be permitted to pursue licenses for both online casinos and online poker, with each property afforded one brand in each vertical.
Cost for licensing mirrors the sports betting model: $50,000 for application; $100,000 for licensing; $50,000 for annual renewal.
Also similar to sports betting, daily fantasy sports will be taxed at an 8.4% rate. Operators, though, will only have to shell out $20,000 for initial licensing and $5,000 for annual renewals.