Michigan Governor Vetoes Package of iGaming Bills That Had Opened Door To Legal Sports Betting

With 48 hours remaining in his term, outgoing Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on Friday vetoed the package of iGaming bills that passed the state legislature earlier this week, Representative Brandt Iden (R-District 61) told Sports Handle.

“The governor just vetoed bills,” Iden said in a phone call. “I am surprised and disappointed. With this many stakeholders on board, it took us two years to get to this point, and it’s the first time in any state history that we had all the parties that were supportive of the bill (on the same page).”

Iden is committed to continuing to carry the torch for sports betting, saying that he will introduce new legislation toward the end of January. Michigan’s legislative session opens on Jan. 9.

Incoming MI Governor Supports Sports Betting

The process won’t be easy. Iden garnered bipartisan support over the last year, bringing operators, politicians and tribal interests together to back a package of iGaming bills that included language that set the table for legalizing sports betting in Michigan, one of the most populous states in the nation.

While he won’t be starting from scratch, re-introducing the bills to a new legislature will require another round of committee meetings and House and Senate votes before putting a bill on incoming Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk.

Whitmer is on the record as supporting sports betting during her campaign to replace Snyder, who was term-limited. Heading into the November elections, Republicans were the majority in both Michigan chambers. Despite a strong showing by Democrats, Republicans will remain the majority when the new state legislature is sworn in.

“We do have a different makeup, but we had tremendous bipartisan support from both House and Senate,” Iden said. ” Frankly we have a governor, who even though she doesn’t wear the same jersey that I do, will she be interested in passing a bill that Governor Snyder vetoed? Maybe?”

In a press release from the Snyder’s office, he said he vetoed the bills because of “unknown revenue implications” and because he believes that state should further study internet and mobile betting before legalizing. Snyder also wrote that he was concerned that with the introduction of iGaming, the state would see a reduction in tax revenue as players shift from the lottery’s online gaming to other apps. He specifically pointed to the “lower tax rate” in HB 4926 as cause for concern. Iden’s iGaming bills were among 40 that Snyder vetoed Friday.

Iden had spent years wrangling different interests into backing his iGaming legislation, and on Dec. 20, at the tail end of the lame-duck session, HB 4926 passed the Senate 33-5 and the House, 71-35. The bill included a key line related to sports betting: