Michigan Draws In Massive Tax Revenue from Online Gaming and Sports Betting

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The overwhelming motivating factor when it comes to individuals and groups railing against the legalization of online casinos and internet gaming as a whole is based on morality and issues with problem gamblers. However, though these complaints are in some cases valid, you have to at least counter such concerns with the number of tax dollars brought in from states that opt to legalize such pastimes.

In Michigan, where some level of legal gambling has been in operation since 1997, they’ve managed to collect in excess of $2.5 billion in taxes and, in doing so, made a great deal of difference for some residents of the state. 

Internet gaming, such as Online casinos in Michigan, accounts for $87.2 million of that total sum, with the largest chunk coming from retail tables and slots. Clearly, over time, and for a large portion of the past 25 years, physical casinos have held their own, but online casinos and sportsbooks are very much the future, and you can expect the funds generated by internet ventures will far outstrip brick and mortar establishments.

The arguments against allowing gambling activities to operate legally within any state have usually been based on morality, and there has been something of a regional divide in this regard, albeit in recent years, the size of the legalized market has grown a great deal.

Currently, massive states like California, Texas, and Florida are long into the process of passing the relevant legislation allowing forms of legal gaming, and there is a sense that the more states that pass such laws, the closer the country as a whole will come to passing a blanket acceptance of the activities, be that online or offline.

The executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), Henry Williams, spoke of his pride at the level of funds brought in from the industry, stating;

“My MGCB colleagues and I are proud to play our role in helping Michigan schools by collecting wagering taxes on legal, regulated gaming.”

“Legal, regulated gaming has grown in Michigan in ways no one likely imagined in 1997,” 

“At that time, the internet had about 130 million users, and many thought it was a passing fad. The focus was on the brick-and-mortar casinos and what they could do for the city of Detroit. Both forms of gaming have proven their worth in raising funding for Michigan’s schools.” Williams added.

In terms of online gaming action, Michigan saw a massive 28% increase year on year for the month of May. There are now 15 providers who are authorized to operate in the state, and for the first five months of the year, their gross receipts amounted to over $570m. 

The popularity of online gaming in the state is well ahead of where you’d imagine, given that the state’s population is the tenth highest in the US. 

Interestingly the interest in poker is surprisingly high in Michigan and, for the third month in a row, is actually higher than in New Jersey and this in part is down to the success of the World Series of Poker In Michigan.  

- Payton O'Brien, Gambling911.com Senior Editor

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