Michigan’s legislature is considering a bill that would allow the Great Lake State to join a growing roster of states that have legalized online gaming. Legislators would be right to ignore the scare tactics of legislation opponents, much of which, ironically, is funded and supported by gaming interests in Las Vegas.
For decades, the Department of Justice (DOJ) imposed a blanket ban of states legalizing online games of chance. Thanks to pressure from states and some court cases, the DOJ in late 2010 reversed course and allowed states to make the determination themselves. New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada were the first to legalize online gaming for their residents.
Opposition to the effort has been funded almost exclusively by Las Vegas billionaire and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Mr. Adelson has funded an organization dedicated to fighting legalized online gaming. A group called the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling magically appeared. Lobbyists, like former Democratic Senator Blanch Lincoln, were hired and poll-tested and focus group language were employed to restore the federal prohibition.