Michigan’s Christmas Wish: Legalized Poker

Michigan may yet see a Christmas miracle with State Rep Brandt Iden pushing for the legalization of poker at the end of 2018.

Michigan is still not a place where you can play poker legally. This creates quite a few drawbacks for those aficionados who love the game. Well, the audience of dedicated players could now witness a Christmas miracle with State Representative Brand Iden’s public endorsement of online poker intensifying.

At the beginning of December, Mr. Iden spoke out in favor of legalizing casino games and poker, highlighting the benefits of the measure. And while this is refreshing, Michigan’s players’ hopes have been dashed time and again in the past decade or so with lawmakers taking a dim view of the activity altogether.

While poker collapsed on a federal level over the past few years, legislation on state level has been more susceptible, similar to the sports betting industry. But the challenges that lie ahead of online poker have to do with local temperaments more so than with any federal pushbacks.

While the support in Michigan has been growing lawmakers remain divided. Brandt Iden though now has an opportunity to chart a different future for the state. He is endorsing the H.4926 draft bill, which is better known as the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, a direct antipode of the “Unlawful Gambling Act” from 1998.

Since it was first broached in September 2017, Iden has been vehemently championing the benefits of supporting the bill. Initially, the draft didn’t gain much traction and many thought it would just die caught in the red tape but Iden did see it through.

In June, 2018, he managed to pass it in the House of Representative with 68-40 votes in favor of the proposed legislation. The next step required Iden to seek support in Senate where he has been partnering with open-minded lawmakers sympathetic to his efforts.

However, the bill has been put on the backburner since Iden had to go on the campaign trail to secure himself a third term in office. After the election dust had settled, Iden renewed his pursuit, saying that he will try and make sure that the bill is submitted to the governor’s office before the Christmas holidays.

The bill could still pass by December 20 when the last session will take place, but there are other items on the agenda of the Governor which may take precedence, including infrastructural and environmental issues.

While Iden remains vehement about the legislation he has done his part. Moving forward, it will be up to Senator Mike Kowall to push the bill through the higher legal echelons of the state.  Kowall is not a stranger to the idea of legalizing online gambling, as he has been working on that for a while. With his last weeks in term, Kowall is expected to endorse the bill even more strongly, although his seniority and connections would allow him to influence the outcome of a potential vote from beyond his office.

With Kowall and Iden now throwing their full support behind the bill, poker fans in the state have yet another reason to feel optimistic about the future.

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