A State Representative for Michigan, Robert Kosowski (D-District 16), has brought back an old sports betting bill to the table. House Bill, HB- 4060, A Bill to Amend “The State School Aid Act of 1979” seeks to grant casinos in Michigan with the right to offer odds on sporting events. The piece of legislation was first introduced by the Wayne County lawmaker in 2015. However, not much was done on that front as little support was found among Kpspwski’s colleagues in Lansing.
Regardless of whether or not the outcome for the bill will be different this time around, for the state of Michigan to actually legalize sports betting within their state boundaries the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) would first need to be repealed or replaced.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which is also knowns as the Bradley Act has been in effect since 1992. PASPA aims to stop the spread of sports betting in the USA. Under the federal law, only four states could continue with their practices of sports betting. This was because it had already been written into their laws at the time PASPA was issued. The states that are allowed to offer sports betting include Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana. Any new states wanting to legalizing sports betting would face certain restrictions. The law still prevents most forms of sports betting around the country.
Kosowski’s legislation currently stands at more of a shell bill. The document is only two pages long. It does not provide much detail on how sports betting would be operated in the state in the instance the bill was approved either. The statute simply says, “The holder of a casino license may accept wagers on sporting events.”
Due to PASPA being in effect, a state like Michigan cannot legally offer sports betting at its tribal or commercial casinos. But if PASPA should change, Kosowski would be ready to roll out sports betting facilities to all the casinos around the state.
New Jersey’s Fight to Legalize Sports Betting
New Jersey has been at the forefront of the fight against PASPA. They have been trying to bring the power to legalize sports betting under the discretion of state governments for many years. The governor of New Jersey has stated that the oversight of PASPA overreaches the rights of individual states. Their efforts to encourage the federal courts to dismiss PASPA have not yet been fruitful.
In November of last year, five other state attorneys general joined the Garden State in asking the United States Supreme Court to consider the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling against New Jersey’s attempts to legalize sports betting. The lower court ruled in an en banc hearing that Congress is the only entity that has the power to amend PASPA.
New Jersey has appealed their case to the highest court in the nation but it seems unlikely that the Supreme Court will take on New Jersey’s sports betting case. However, earlier this week the Supreme Court asked the US solicitor general to file a brief on the federal government’s view on the legal challenge. This has given the proponents of the issue a sense of encouragement.
If Sports Betting had been Legalized in Michigan in 2016
It is well known that Michiganites love their football. On Saturday and Sundays, they pack stadiums to watch the Detroit Lions, Wolverines and Spartans. No sport in America is more bet upon than football. If sports betting had been legalized in Michigan casinos in 2016, they would have generated a lot of money, both for themselves and for the state’s treasury. That is because there was much optimism for all three teams this past fall. Unfortunately, all the excitement ended in widespread disappointment.
Assuming that most of the betting action would have been for the Michigan teams to win, 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 at number 12 in the Associated Press poll. Unfortunately they too experienced a bad season. Due to a dreadful campaign, going 3- 9 and missing out on a bowl game, it ended badly for them.
The Michigan Wolverines were one of the top programs in the country for most of the regular season. However, they lost three of their final four games, including the Orange Bowl against Florida State. It is uncertain how far the sports betting bill will go in Michigan. However it is guaranteed that PASPA is here to stay for a while longer. Michigan state, like New Jersey, would have to fight hand tooth and nail before the federal government may become likely to cave on the matter.