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Michigan Internet Poker Bill Advances Despite Spousegate Scandal

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Jun/08/2016

  • Regulatory Reform Committee votes 8-1 in favor of Internet poker
  • Bill advances to Senate but no companion bill in the House and Legislative session ends this month
  • Bill sponsor state Sen. Mike Kowall wife works for lobbying firm pushing for legalizing i-Poker in Michigan
  • Watchdog group director calls perceived conflict of interest “a pretty troubling set of circumstances”

A measure to legalize online poker in the state of Michigan has moved forward with an 8-1 vote in the Regulatory Reform Committee but obstacles and time stand in the way of its ultimate passage.

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The bill moves onto the Senate floor for a possible vote but there is not a companion bill in the House and the current legislative session ends this month.

And then there is Spousegate.

Last month it was revealed that bill sponsor, state Sen. Mike Kowall, is married to a woman employed by a lobbying firm actively pursuing the legalization of Web poker in the state.

Kowal says there is no conflict of interest because his wife, lobbyist Eileen Kowall, is not working directly on the project.

"It seems like a pretty troubling set of circumstances," said Melanie McElroy, executive director of the progressive nonprofit watchdog group Common Cause.

She added: "It's troubling Sen. Kowall would sponsor legislation that would enrich MGS — a consulting firm that employs his wife.”

- Ace King, Gambling911.com

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