Lawmakers hope to 'fast track' sports betting in Michigan
(WJBK) - While it may not be high on the governor's to-do list, some lawmakers are hoping to legalize sports betting in Michigan before summer break.
"We're trying to fast track it. I'd love to see this get done before summer break," said State Rep. Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Township).
That means June 21.
But Gov. Rick Snyder is not getting on that fast track. In fact in his first interview since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling this week, he doesn't even want to talk about it.
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"That wouldn't be the highest thing on my list," he said. "I'm not looking to get involved in that topic. I'll wait and see what happens from the legislative side."
One proposal would permit sports betting at existing private and tribal casinos and one estimate suggests that could raise about $30 million with about $6 million going to schools.
This GOP senator is a non-gambler but he'll vote yes.
"Cash. Revenue. I mean let's face it, why should we let other states have it and not us? The thing I like about it is you take that extra revenue and you put it toward roads, you can put it towards most anything you want," said State Sen. Jack Brandenburg (R-Harrison Township).
A former sherif argues there's illegal betting on sports games now so why not take it out of the hands of organized crime.
"I don't think gambling is good for people but unfortunately, it's already online being run by organized crime. ... If we're going to have it out there, let's tax it," Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) said.
But when voters approved three Detroit casinos, they also forced lawmakers to find 83 house votes and 28 senate votes to do this.
"That's a lot of votes, and it only takes a quarter of either of the members of the legislature to say no to stop it from happening," said gaming lawyer Steve Leidel.
With the governor not on board, and some legal questions hanging over this debate, it's fair to say this is far from being a sure bet.