Michigan And Kentucky In US Gambling News OnlineBy: Ryan Alders, Tuesday December 25th 2018
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Last week there have been two landmark developments in the United States online gambling industry.
Michigan has become the sixth American state to legalise online gaming. The state Senate and the state House of Representatives have passed HB 4926, which is the bill that seeks to create a lawful Internet gaming act. The online gambling activities will cover real money casinos and sports betting. There is a final hurdle, but that is not expected to create a problem. The bill will now have to be presented to the Governor of Michigan. Only after he signs it will it become law.
The preamble to the bill states that Michigan will create a regulatory authority for Internet gaming oversight. The regulatory body will be authorised to impose fees, taxes and other payment obligations required for carrying out licensed online gambling. Specified undesirable acts will be prohibited and penalties will be prescribed for those violations. The detailed rules will have to be framed and this will take time. It is expected that land based casino operators in Michigan with access to real money online gambling technology will be able to commence services in 2020. The Michigan online gambling bill is consistent with the current legislation that includes the Wire Act and the UIGEA.
Michigan has a population of 10 million and this will materially increase the number of Americans who will be permitted to play Internet casino games and bet on sports online. The other five US States with legalised online gambling are Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
The other news item is more specific and does not have far reaching public consequences. It is a court decision in a matter that has been of considerable interest. The Stars Group Inc. has announced that the Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled in its favour and reversed the $870 million penalty imposed by the Franklin Circuit Court in December 2015. The Stars Group is the owner of the PokerStars online poker brand, which it acquired in 2014.
The State of Kentucky has a 19th century provision in its statute that allows individuals who incur gambling losses to bring an action against their winning opponents. However, this law was never intended for the state government to sue and collect such losses from the operator of the games for its own benefit. However, the Commonwealth of Kentucky sought to recover alleged losses by Kentucky residents playing real money online poker on the PokerStars and other websites during the period between 2006 and 2011. The 2015 verdict pertained to this claim. Some online poker sites like Bwin.party had paid up. But the Stars Group went in appeal and won. It is expected that the Commonwealth of Kentucky will either petition the Court of Appeals for a rehearing or seek discretionary review of the Court of Appeals decision by the Kentucky Supreme Court.
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