Skubick: Internet and sports betting take a step closer to reality

Michigan

Facing a possible governor’s veto, a House committee has moved legalized sports and Internet betting one step closer to reality.

So what impact could this have on new revenue for the state?

With a host of gaming lobbyists in the audience bird-dogging every committee move, the House committee, on strong bipartisan votes, moved bills to legalize Internet and sports betting.

The underlying force behind this legislation? People are already betting.

“You bet,” says Rep. Wendell Byrd of Detroit. “They bet on MSU vs. Michigan so why not tax it for government?”

Skubick: “Does it raise anything?”

Rep. Byrd: “It will help. Yeah.”

The sponsor, Rep. Brant Iden, contends the first year it could raise $80 million and long term…

“We could go up to $100 to $150 million but we need to have both sports and Internet gaming. If it’s just sports betting, it’s smaller.”

The legislature last year adopted a similar measure that Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed.

The new governor has not threatened to veto it again, but Gretchen Whitmer has not signed off on the package because she feels if there is more Internet betting,  players will not play the state lottery, which means fewer dollars for education.

School lobbyist Peter Spadafore claims, “the school aid fund is at risk. We could lose $28 million or about twenty dollars a student and that’s a lot.”

“This is new revenue to the state of Michigan,” counters Rep. Iden. “In other states this did not pull from the I-lottery and, in fact, in New Jersey the profits are up, rivaling that of Nevada.”

Mr. Iden hopes the governor will now come to the table to finish this deal.

“I’m not looking for another veto.”

Skubick: “Are you betting she will not veto it.”

Rep. Iden: “She will not.  I’m a gambler.”

We’ll see if his bet pays off.  

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