Despite high hopes that Michigan would finally be able to enjoy legalized internet gambling, legislators were shocked to learn yesterday that outgoing Governor Rick Snyder had vetoed several gambling bills.
Rep. Brandt Iden, who sponsored the bills, expressed his disappointment at the governor’s decision. The veto means that online gambling is being pushed back at least another year in a state that has been moving towards this goal for four years.
Iden said in a phone interview: “The veto pen came out for my entire gaming package, which is incredibly disappointing. We had no idea this was coming. We had all the stakeholders supportive of the package and we had alleviated any concerns, so this is a very surprising outcome.”
Gov. Snyder went on a veto-frenzy and nixed a whopping 40 bills that reached his desk as he prepares to step down to make way for his successor, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer. Rep. Iden believes that the new legislators who enter office on January 9th will need to be educated about online gambling. However, he seems confident that 2019 will bring a change to the law.
“I saw over the course of the last two years the time it takes to educate people on these issues and get them up to speed on where we are,” he said. “I’m going to need to do that again, but I’m fully prepared to do so and confident we will have a successful 2019. It took a long time to get here, and this is a bump in the road, but I’m confident it will get done.”
Governor Snyder sent a veto letter to legislators on Friday, outlining why he felt the need to veto the online gambling package. He stated that the believed the bills would encourage gambling by making it easier to do so.
“I do not think it is appropriate to sign legislation that will effectively result in more gambling, with a reasonable chance that the state could lose revenue that could be helpful in dealing with social service issues that are ordinarily attendant to increased gambling behavior,” he wrote.
Iden does not believe that the reasons offered by Governor Snyder are valid. As such, he plans on reintroducing the bills as soon as possible next year, and also plans to set up a framework to introduce legal sports betting. Gretchen Whitmer has expressed her support for sports betting in Michigan.