Michigan has become the latest state to legalize online poker. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made the bill official with her signature on Friday.
The legislation also legalizes sports betting and other forms of online gambling. Both houses approved the package of bills earlier this year.
Online Poker Will Help Michigan Schools
Gov. Whitmer has been a big proponent of increasing funding for the state’s schools. Therefore, a key component of the internet poker legislation involved making sure that profits will help the Michigan school system.
Taxes raised from online poker games will go towards the School Aid Fund. This fund provides extra money for schools throughout the Wolverine State.
Last Year’s Online Poker Bill Was Vetoed
Many thought that Michigan would approve internet poker last year. However, former Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a similar bill in 2018 as one of his final acts in office.
Snyder expressed concerns that the poker revenue would take away from the lottery, rather than supplementing it. Whitmer offered similar concerns shortly after taking office.
Politicians eased these concerns by increasing the tax rates on future Michigan poker sites. Online casino and sportsbook operators were also affected by this tax hike.
Now, internet casino and poker businesses will pay between a 20% and 28% tax rate. Meanwhile, sports betting revenue will be subject to an 8.4% tax.
“My top priority in signing this legislation was protecting and investing in the School Aid Fund, because our students deserve leaders who put their education first,” said Whitmer.
“Thanks in part to the hard work and leadership of [Democratic Sen. Curtis Hertel] and [Democratic Rep. Rebekah Warren], these bills will put more dollars in Michigan classrooms and increase funding for firefighters battling cancer.”
Michigan is the sixth state to legalize internet poker. Delaware, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia also offer this game.