Skubick: Sports and Internet betting reboots but may stall again

Michigan

A house committee has approved legalized sports and Internet betting but there is a major roadblock for the sponsor to overcome.

The common argument is, that folks are betting on sports now.

Well,maybe not the Tigers, but they are doing this illegally so why not make it legal and the state can make some money.

“Give the people what they want ultimately,” says Rep. Michael Webber. “There’s a market for sports betting and people are already doing it either on an app, overseas, or they are doing it with a local bookie illegally. We’re trying to bring that out of the shadows and into the light.”

And with a full house of pro-gaming lobbyists in the room, a House committee voted to move the bills to another committee.

Last year the legislature passed these bills but then-governor Rick Snyder vetoed the bills.

And with a new governor, the sponsor has the same problem.

“At this time, I do not have her support,” claims Rep. Brant Iden.

And the reason is Gov. Whitmer wants to tax sports betting at 15 percent.

Rep. Iden is willing to go to 10 percent but beyond that he warns “15 percent puts us out of business. We might as well not even have it.”

The governor knows that lottery sales produce money for education and she argues Internet gaming could cut into those funds.

“Pennsylvania is the best example,” claims Rep. Iden. “It has Internet lottery games and it has not lost any money. We’re not going to lose revenue. It’s a different type of player.”

But if the governor and the representative can’t resolve their differences, sports betting is looking like a bad bet.

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