Michigan is fourth Midwest state to legalize sports betting, and first to allow online poker

Legalized sports betting has come to a fourth state in the Midwest, thanks to bipartisan bills signed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in December. The package of legislation marks the culmination of years of work by lawmakers to change state policy on sports betting and internet gaming. The end result: Michigan residents will be able to wager on sports events (amateur and professional) and participate in online, casino-style gaming such as poker through the state’s commercial and tribal casinos.

According to Whitmer’s office, the Michigan Department of Treasury is estimating a gain in state revenues of $19 million — close to half of which will go to the School Aid Fund ($4.8 million) and a fund ($4 million) that provides financial assistance to firefighters who have developed certain cancers as the result of smoke inhalation and exposure to chemicals. Casinos will pay a state tax rate of 8.4 percent on their adjusted gross receipts from sports betting; Detroit casinos also will pay a city tax of 1.25 percent. Mobile sports wagering will be allowed through the state’s licensed casinos.

Michigan is the 20th U.S. state to legalize sports betting; Illinois, Indiana and Iowa passed laws in the early part of 2019. In Iowa, through the first five months of fiscal year 2020, 18 state-licensed casinos had handled a total of $212 million in sports wagering, yielding $1.3 million in tax revenue (based on a state tax rate of 6.75 percent), according to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. A little more than half of this activity in Iowa occurred via the internet (mobile phones or other devices). Indiana had collected $3.9 million in taxes from sports betting as of the end of 2019 (the tax rate is 9.5 percent), with close to 70 percent of the $162 million in total wagers being made through internet sportsbooks that have partnered with casinos, according to the Indiana Gaming Commission.
Michigan is the first state in the Midwest, and fifth in the United States, to authorize its casinos to offer online poker and other games.