As lawmakers in the state scratch their head over casino expansion plans, the Michigan House Of Representatives on Wednesday night approved a bill that relaxes the restrictions on three casinos in Detroit and allows casino operators and stakeholders to make political donations.
The new bill rewrites the provision of the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act, the Act that led to the legalization of commercial gaming, followed by a public referendum in 1996. The 1996 Act also restricts casino licensees and their employees from making political donations.
What Will Change
The new bill would bring about significant changes in the casino gambling industry in Michigan, especially Detroit.
When the new bill comes into effect:
– Casino licensees and their employees will be able to make political donations.
– Casino licensees will be further exempt from obligatory background checks.
– After a specific period, even those convicted of criminal offenses will be able to apply for a gambling license.
– The audits of suppliers will be quarterly and not annually.
The new legislation -House Bill 4307 – is sponsored by Representative Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Township).
Lawmakers Oppose The Move
The idea of allowing casino operators to make political donations has not been received well by many. Representative Bill Sowerby, who is against the bill, said that it lacked transparency.
He expressed concerns that allowing casino operators and employees to make political donations will enable political parties and candidates to secure funds from vague sources.
He also pointed out that the bill would allow casino owners to create an undue influence on lawmakers and politicians as they would be allowed to make donations for political purposes.
Moreover, with operators exempt from obligatory background checks, those in opposition said will negatively impact the transparency and accountability of gambling companies.
The three casinos MGM Grand, MotorCity, and Greektown – all operating in Detroit – have tendered their support for the bill.