After four long years of legislative hearings, public education, and good-old-fashioned compromise, the Michigan Senate and House last week passed a series of bills to regulate internet gaming in the state. Earning overwhelming, bipartisan supermajorities in both houses, the bills landed on Governor Rick Snyder’s desk with a clear mandate from the legislature.
What did Snyder do? The Governor ‘dropped the ball in the endzone’, vetoed the bills at the 11th-hour, and then he was less than honest with Michiganders about his reasons for doing so. Par for the course for someone who started with such promise but leaves the office with approval ratings in the 30’s – covered in the stench of the Flint water crisis and sexual abuse scandal at Michigan State.
According to his veto message, Governor Snyder killed regulated internet gaming because the data doesn’t exist to justify it, and he fears that internet gaming will cannibalize the state lottery and existing casinos.
Do unicorns exist? Is Christmas magic real? I say yes, definitely on the latter, but not so sure on the former. Until now… I now believe in policy unicorns, i.e., an extraordinarily rare and good event almost unheard of in politics and policy. Michigan policymakers can pull off a trifecta-of-a-policy-unicorn – fund essential programs, promote economic growth, and not raise taxes. Outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder can prove that policy unicorns are real by signing legislation legalizing online gaming in the Wolverine State.
Last week, the State Senate by a strong bipartisan vote approved a plan that would enable Michigan to join a growing roster of states that have legalized online gaming. The bill will create jobs and economic opportunity for thousands of Michigan residents.
The gubernatorial race reveals stark differences between the candidates.
As thousands of migrants march their way up through Mexico intent on overrunning our Southern order, the issue of illegal immigration has become center stage in the race for governor of Michigan as Republican Bill Schuette hammers away at his opponent, Democrat candidate Gretchen Whitmer, and her radical support for dismantling America’s borders.
Whitmer’s support for open borders (a euphemism for ‘no borders’), sanctuary cities, and amnesty became even more evident last week as the two candidates faced off in a debate. Schuette’s positions were clear and rock solid. He boldly said that if elected, there will be “no sanctuary cities in Michigan.” Whitmer, on the other hand, has advocated for the undoing and abolishing of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), and her extremist running mate, Detroit activist Garlin Gilchrist, suggested that the Department of Homeland Security should be removed, a move that would leave America unprotected.
In the past, Whitmer has said that open borders were “fundamental” to who we are as Americans. She has promised to sue the federal government to have National Guard troops removed from our Southern Border. But this past week, when confronted with her position on critical issues, Whitmer dodged and weaved, refusing to answer questions about her support for harboring criminal aliens in sanctuary cities, instead pivoting to claims that Mr. Schuette’s positions were “extreme.”
For nearly a decade, the Department of Justice (DOJ) ignored a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling declaring that the (Federal) Wire Act covers only sporting events, not games of chance. The DOJ reversed itself in 2011, returning to states the right to regulate online gambling.
This was an excellent move for states’ rights. Legal gambling sites use technological methods to restrict their business to the states where online gaming is allowed, so states that don’t permit such gaming are not affected. And the DOJ’s previous interpretation of the Wire Act was incredibly broad – it effectively banned all Internet gambling, even within a single state.
Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey have legalized online gaming and nearly a dozen more states – including Michigan – are considering following suit. Seeing this trend, Sheldon Adelson tried – unsuccessfully – to build an online gaming business. Since failing to capitalize on the market, his company, Las Vegas Sands, has been terrified that online gaming represents a competitive threat to the profitability of brick-and-mortar casinos. With more states looking to legalizing online gaming, the threat appears to be growing.