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Whitmer legalizes sports betting, funds will support schools and first responders

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a group of bipartisan House bills legalizing internet gaming and sports betting on Friday.

LANSING, Mich. — Sports betting and internet gaming are now legal in Michigan. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan House Bills 4311-12, 4916-18, 4307 and 4308 into law Friday morning. 

According to a release from the governor's office, the revenue from online gaming and sports betting through the state's casinos will support the school aid fund and the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund (FRPCF). The Michigan Department of Treasury estimates the legalization will bring in $19 million in new revenue to Michigan. This additional revenue will bolster the School Aid Fund by $4.8 million and invest an additional $4 million into the FRPCF.   

Additionally, this bill package allows tribal casinos to participate in online gaming and sports betting at an equal level to the Detroit casinos. This revenue will support important tribal community activities.    

"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 Senator Hertel and Representative Warren, these bills will put more dollars in Michigan classrooms and increase funding for firefighters battling cancer. This is a real bipartisan win for our state.” 

But even with all that goodwill there is concern about an increase in gambling addiction.

"Obviously what people are always concerned about anytime more gambling is allowed is the challenge of people who become addicted and there is some funding as part of this package to support people that develop a gambling problem, but it remains to be seen if that's sufficient and how this will be addressed," says Michael Huff a Sports Law Attorney.

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