The recent vetoing of the long-suffering and long-awaited gambling bills in Michigan has stymied efforts to get new gambling legislation passed for at least a year, according to legislative experts. The last-minute veto, which came as the governor was packing to leave his office at the end of his term, surprised everyone. In fact, legislators are worried that the package of gambling bills that were vetoed by the governor may not be passed again for more than the year already anticipated.
The Governor’s Concerns
When he vetoed the bill on December 30, Governor Snyder declared the reason he was vetoing the bill was that he has misgivings about the changes the bills would make in the gambling landscape in Michigan. The governor stated that there was no research done on how the legalization of online gambling would affect Michigan state government, especially the educational system. Currently, the proceeds from the state lottery in Michigan, which is very popular, funds some of the costs of schooling Michigan’s children. The governor said that because he felt the gambling bills would have an adverse effect on the amount of money available for legislation from the lottery, he had no choice but to veto it.
The Bill Compromises
The package of bills that made it to the governor’s desk was in itself compromise months in the making. Both the Michigan House and Senate had to go through multiple drafts of the bill in order to satisfy the players in Michigan’s gambling business. The senators and representatives were able to get all of the stakeholders involved in pushing the compromises and the legislation through the legislature, which was no easy feat.
Why Is It Going To Take A Year To Redo?
Both gaming and legislative experts say there is a reason the bill vetoed by the governor will take so long to run through the legislature. Perhaps the largest reason is that the gambling bill was not a one-issue bill, but an entire package of bills. Michigan was seeking to overhaul its entire slate of gambling laws. Legislators believed that passing a number of bills under the same legislative filing made sense. While the ability for Michiganders to gamble online was the most important part of the bill, it was not the only change to gambling under consideration. For example, there were provisions in the bill package to modernize other aspects of gambling so that the state could be more competitive with other gambling markets in the United States, as well as Canada to the north.
The Horse Racing Act for example, would have allowed tracks to modernize the way people place bets, but at the racetracks themselves and during a simulcast. Advanced deposit wagering at horse venues or off-track venues would have allowed the player to place money into their accounts for wagering ahead of time, so the betting process would have been smoother.
The yearlong estimation by legislative experts is in response to the possibility that both the House and the Senate will go through multiple drafts of a bill during the 2019 legislative session. In addition, every time a different version passes one house, it must go up for debate at the other legislative house—, which takes time. In addition, there has been some talk again of packaging all of the proposed changes to gambling in one bill to make it easier to understand. Some legislators think presenting the governor with such a large trove of regulations and reforms may have contributed to the veto.
It remains to be seen if the legislature can get back on track and get a bill passed in the 2019 legislative session. Many experts are concerned that online gambling will not even be ready to begin in 2020. In fact, depending on what the legislature does, it may be 2022 before Michiganders can enjoy gambling online.
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