This guide contains answers to Frequently Asked Questions related to a proposed Michigan online poker bill that would formally regulate internet poker in the Great Lakes State.

It is designed to be a helpful resource for poker players, media outlets and industry representatives alike.

The page numbers referenced in green font are taken directly from MICHIGAN HOUSE BILL 4926.

This proposed legislation is also referred to as the Michigan Lawful Internet Gaming Act.

Michigan Online Poker Bill FAQs (H 4926-4928)

AUTHOR CHANGELOG (May 9, 2018): Answers to Questions #8 and #9 have been updated following the entry of a Revised Draft for Michigan House Bill No. 4926, submitted by State Representative Brandt Iden.

1. How would the Michigan online poker bill legalize internet poker/casino games?

Michigan House Bill 4926 would create a regulatory body responsible for establishing rules for the licensing and conducting of real money online poker and casino games. These games “must include, but need not be limited to, poker.” (Page 16, Lines 5-6)

These rules must be promulgated within 1 year of the “effective date” of the Act. (Page 15, Lines 22-25)

2. Who would be responsible for regulating online gambling in Michigan?

The Michigan Internet Gaming Division (created within H 4926 as a subordinate entity to the Michigan Gaming Control Board) would have direct oversight responsibilities for all internet gambling activities that would be authorized under this Act.

This does not include online lottery games — which are already regulated by the Michigan Bureau of State Lottery.

The regulatory powers that would be granted to the *MIGD* are very broad, and would provide the Division with the ability to ” administer, regulate, and enforce the system of internet gaming established by this Act.” (Page 7, Lines 19-27)

3. Who would be able to play real money online poker if this Michigan online poker bill is enacted into law?

Only residents physically located within the state of Michigan who are age 21 or over would be able to participate in real money internet games in Michigan. (Page 3, Lines 2-5)

(For supplemental material on this topic, watch VIDEO #5: TIMESTAMP 8:44-10:21 from our “Michigan Regulated iGaming Study Guide” linked at the bottom of this article)

4. Which gambling establishments would be eligible to apply for a MI online poker/casino license?

The (roughly two dozen) tribal, and 3 Detroit commercial casinos (Greektown – Motor City – MGM Grand) that are located within the state of Michigan.* (Page 8, Lines 16-23)

* As established by the 1996 MICHIGAN GAMING CONTROL AND REVENUE ACT

(For supplemental material on this topic, watch VIDEO #2: TIMESTAMP 4:58-6:49 from our “Michigan Regulated iGaming Study Guide” linked at the bottom of this article)

5. For how long would online gambling licenses in Michigan be valid?

Online gambling licenses would be valid for a period of 5 years, at which point the Division may decide at its own discretion whether or not to renew an operator’s license. (Page 8, Line 24)

6. How much would a Michigan online gaming license cost if H 4926 becomes law?

Each licensee would be responsible for paying the Division an initial $200,000 USD licensing fee upon receipt of said license, with an additional $100,000 USD annual renewal fee. (Page 9, Line 20-26)

Michigan Online Poker Bill Brandt Iden

Rep. Brandt Iden (R – Kalamazoo): MI House Bill 4826 Sponsor — Regulatory Reform Committee Chairman

All applicants would also be required to submit a $100,000 USD upfront payment upon applying for an internet gaming license. Part, or all, of this separate upfront fee may be refunded at the Division’s discretion — in accordance with the Rules the Division establishes. (Page 8, Line 24)

7. Would House Bill 4926 allow Michigan to compact with other states for “shared liquidity” purposes (such as the agreement between NJ/NV/DE)?

Yes. The Michigan Internet Gaming Division would be authorized to “enter into agreements with other jurisdictions to facilitate, administer, and regulate multijurisdictional internet gaming.”

However, Michigan regulators would be strictly prohibited from compacting with gaming interests outside the United States. (Page 8, Lines 1-6)

8. What would be the tax rate for online gambling games in Michigan?

All Michigan internet gambling games would be taxed at a rate of 15% of Gross Gaming Revenue. (Page 20, Lines 2-5)

All license holders would be responsible for paying the corresponding tax amounts monthly — on the tenth day of the following month. (Page 20, Lines 6-8)

NOTE: The above is recent news related to a “revised draft” of Michigan H 4926, which would designate an internet gambling tax rate of 8% while legalizing online sports betting pending a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on PASPA prohibitions. You can read a follow-up report on this topic by Chris Krafcik of Gambling Complaince here. We will update this article with new information if/when these reported changes are published on the official Michigan State Legislature website.

UPDATE (May 9, 2018): These changes are now confirmed. (Page 3, Lines 8-12 and Page 25, Lines 11-14 of Revised Draft)

9. Would the Michigan online poker bill legalize land-based and internet sports betting?

Please see the above NOTE on this topic. This section will be modified if/when the corresponding changes are published by Michigan officials.* Updated at bottom of Question #8

10. Would “vendors” and “platforms” be required to obtain their own licenses?

Yes. An internet gaming “vendor” would be required to pay a $5,000 initial licensing fee along with $2,500 annually. (Page 12, Lines 24-27)

An internet gaming “platform” would be required to pay a $100,000 initial licensing fee along with $50,000 annually. (Page 12, Lines 27-3)

11. Does Michigan H 4926 include “bad actor” or “suitability” language that would block PokerStars from entering the market?

No, it does not. The Michigan Internet Gaming Division would be responsible for determining the suitability of all license applicants, but would not be required by law to block platforms that operated real money games within the U.S. between January 1st, 2007 and April 15th, 2011.

Michigan Online Poker Bill - Klint Kesto

Rep. Klint Kesto (R – Wixom): MI House Bill 4926 Co-Sponsor — Regulatory Reform Committee Member

12. Does the Michigan online poker bill address potential “problem gambling” issues?

Yes. Each internet gambling operator would be obligated to provide the following services to all real money customers: (Page 18, Lines 21-2)

  • Display a toll-free number to a problem gambling hotline managed by the state
  • Provide both temporary and permanent “self-exclusion” options for customers
  • Provide the ability for players to establish periodic deposit and wagering limits
  • Protect confidentiality of “self-exclusion” lists
  • “Self-exclusion” information would be exempt from FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests

In addition to these measures, the Division would be afforded broad regulatory authority over establishing “Responsible Gaming” guidelines that it may promulgate at any time following the effective date of the Act. (Page 14, Lines 9-11)

13. If signed into law, when could Michigan poker players expect real money internet games to become available?

Given that no internet gaming license can become active until a minimum of 1 year following the “effective date” of this Act (along with language stipulating that the Act would not become “effective” until 90 days after it is signed into law), the earliest possible launch of Michigan online poker and casino games would be during the second half of the 2019 calendar year. (Page 7, Lines 19-23)

14. Does Michigan H 4926 specifically address the issue of iGaming skins?

No, it does not. Such questions would likely be addressed by the *MIGD* if/when this Michigan online poker bill is enacted into law.

15. Which areas do MI H 4927 and H 4928 cover?

MICHIGAN HOUSE BILL 4927 defines the Act’s effective date as “90 days after the date it is enacted into law.”

MICHIGAN HOUSE BILL 4928 would amend the state’s “Code of Criminal Procedure” and classify certain Internet Gaming Offenses as “Class D” felonies under existing statewide Public Ordinance codes.

Both H 4927 and H 4928 are accompanying bills to Michigan House Bill 4926.

Michigan Online Poker Bill (H 4926) Analysis

Michigan House Bill 4926 provides a basic regulatory framework to license real money internet gambling games within the state’s physical borders. In-depth rules and guidelines would subsequently be decided by the Michigan Internet Gaming Division, which has yet to be formed — and would only exist if this, or a similar Act, is signed into law.

Therefore, many “specifics” surrounding formally regulated Michigan online poker and casino games (such as iGaming skins, the state’s ability to enforce/prosecute unlicensed operator activity, along with potential measures to protect peer-to-peer game integrity) would not be available until that time. It is understood that the *MIGD* would have 12 months to establish such guidelines once the Act becomes effective, which would be 90 days subsequent to its hypothetical signing into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.

DISCUSS NOW: Reddit Poker Discussion Thread MI-H 4926 (May 5, 2018)

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article is funded directly by Part Time Poker as a service to all parties who are interested in online poker legislation in Michigan and other United States jurisdictions.

Read More Gambling Legislation Content from David Huber

Michigan Regulated iGaming Study Guide (Feb 6, 2018)
New York Online Poker Bill FAQs (Apr 10, 2018)
Pennsylvania Category 4 Casino FAQs (Mar 12, 2018)
Connecticut Sports Betting Legislation Preliminary Guide (Mar 2, 2018)
Louisiana Senate Bill 322 Would Regulate iGaming via Parish-Wide Voter Referendum (Mar 5, 2018)
Statewide Gambling Expansions and Voter Referendum Mandates (May 3, 2018)

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