On March 2, 2017, a package of three gaming-related bills, Senate Bill 0203 (“SB 0203”), Senate Bill 0204 (“SB 0204”)and Senate Bill 0205 (“SB 0205”)were introduced in the Michigan Senate, all of which have been referred to the committee on regulatory reform. SB 0203 is similar to Senate Bill 0889 while SB 0204 is similar to Senate Bill 0890, both of which were introduced in the Senate but died during the last legislative session. SB 0203 and SB 0204’s main sponsor is Senator Mike Kowall (R-White Lake) and SB 0205 was primarily introduced by Senator Joe Hune (R-Hamburg). Notably, six sponsors of SB 203 and SB 204 currently sit on the nine-member Senate Committee on Regulatory Reform.
Individually, SB 0203, the Lawful Internet Gaming Act (“Act”) seeks to allow for the legalization, regulation and taxation of internet gaming. SB 0203 is tie barred with SB 0204 and is a one-page bill that seeks to amend the penal code to allow for gambling conducted under the Act. SB 0205 seeks to amend the sentencing guidelines for violations of the proposed lawful internet gaming act, a 10 year maximum prison sentence, and is also tie barred with SB 0203.
Notably, should the section authorizing commercial casinos the ability to offer this new type of gaming be found illegal or invalidated otherwise, the entire Act would be void.