Michigan Sports Betting Bill Introduced to Authorize Odds at Casinos

Posted on: January 20, 2017, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: January 21, 2017, 07:31h.

Sports betting legislation is once again lurking the halls of the Michigan State Capitol, as one lawmaker in the Great Lake State continues pursuing the ending of the market’s prohibition.

 Michigan sports betting Wolverines
A Michigan sports betting bill could someday allow fans in the state to bet on their beloved Wolverines, but numerous roadblocks stand in the legislation’s way. (Image: Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports)

Introduced by State Rep. Robert Kosowski (D-District 16), House Bill 4060 seeks to grant casinos in Michigan with the right to offer odds on sporting events. The Wayne County lawmaker first introduced the legislation in 2015, but found little support among his colleagues in Lansing.

Regardless of whether this time around will be different, for Michigan to actually legalize sports betting, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) would first need to be repealed or replaced. Passed in 1992, the federal mandate made wagering on athletic competitions illegal with the exception of four states, Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana, being granted exemptions.

Kosowski’s legislation is currently more of a shell bill, as it’s only two pages in length and provides little details on how sports betting would operate. The statute simply says, “The holder of a casino license may accept wagers on sporting events.”

Passage Odds Weak

Due to PASPA, a state like Michigan cannot legally offer sports betting at its tribal or commercial casinos. But if PASPA should change, Kosowski wants to be ready.

New Jersey has been working for years, although to no avail, to encourage federal courts to dismiss PASPA on grounds that it’s oversight overreaches states’ rights.

In November, five state attorneys general joined the Garden State in asking the US Supreme Court to consider the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling against New Jersey’s attempts to legalize. The lower court ruled in an en banc hearing that Congress is the only entity that has the power to amend PASPA.

It seems unlikely that the nation’s high court would take on Jersey’s sports betting case. However, some sense of encouragement arose this week for proponents after the Supreme Court asked the US solicitor general to file a brief on the federal government’s view on the legal challenge.

Opportunities Missed

Michiganites love their football, and on Saturday and Sundays, they pack stadiums to watch the Detroit Lions, Wolverines, and Spartans.

No sport in America is more bet upon than the gridiron, and in 2016, should sports betting have been permitted, Michigan casinos likely would have stood to generate a bounty of riches from the sport.

That’s because there was much optimism for all three teams this past fall, but they all ended in disappointment.

Assuming most of the betting action would have been on the Michigan teams winning, casinos might have enjoyed a prosperous few months. The Detroit Lions squeaked into the NFL Playoffs, but lost in the Wild Card round to the Seattle Seahawks.

The Michigan State Spartans football team entered the college football season ranked #12 in the Associated Press poll. But Sparty experienced a dreadful campaign, going 3-9 and missing out on a bowl game.

The Michigan Wolverines were one of the top programs in the country for most of the regular season. But they lost three of their final four games including the Orange Bowl against Florida State.