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Gambling expansion gets pause button until after budget drama ends


LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Discussions to expand gambling options in the state to include sports betting and online gaming have been put on hold until Michigan has a budget. 

A package of bills would expand gambling options in the state – and allow for things like online gaming and sports betting. All the bills are now waiting in the House Ways and Means committee for further action once the contentious budget process is over.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has said she’s concerned new gambling options would take money away from the state lottery. A portion of lottery revenue goes to schools. So, Whitmer wants a higher tax rate on the establishments that would offer the new gambling options.

Republican Representative Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Township) said he’s willing to negotiate.

“We just have to get a reasonable number to then be able to negotiate from and move forward and that’s what I’m looking to do,” Iden said, stressing that he wants to have the bill package finalized by the end of the year.

Democratic Representative Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) shares Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s concerns about the bills.

“I think most of us will be on board and support this if we can come to a higher ground on that taxation rate,” Cambensy said.

Iden attempted to pass similar legislation last term, but it was vetoed by governor at the time, Republican Rick Snyder.