Governor Whitmer’s Budget Calls For Increased Funding For Problem Gambling

Written By Dan Holmes on February 8, 2024
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer delivers her State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate, Jan. 25, 2023, at the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. Whitmer has called for an increase in funding for problem gambling in the budget for fiscal year 2025.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has released her proposed 2025 fiscal year budget, which includes increased funding for problem gambling prevention in Michigan.

It marks a third consecutive budget with money allocated toward Michigan responsible gambling from the governor’s office.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board quickly issued its support of Whitmer’s proposals. MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams voiced his support at a joint session of the MI House and Senate Appropriations committees on Feb. 7.

“I fully support the governor’s proposed budget recommendations,” Williams told lawmakers, “which allocate increased funds for compulsive gambling prevention initiatives and the expansion of iGaming regulatory capacity to counter illegal activities.”

Whitmer’s FY2025 budget calls for funding of resources to combat illegal online gambling in the state.

Williams: ‘Enhanced regulatory oversight becomes indispensable’

Michigan online casinos and Michigan sports betting apps are both legal, but the state has still seen criminal activities in recent years, with arrests made against illegal gaming operations. Regulations, oversight, and enforcement help protect Michigan consumers from predatory gaming operators.

“As iGaming continues to grow in popularity, enhanced regulatory oversight becomes indispensable in protecting vulnerable Michigan citizens, preventing money laundering, and mitigating the risks of fraudulent practices,” Williams said.

He was joined in support of Whitmer’s proposed spending by State Budget Director Jen Flood, who was previously a high-ranking aid to the governor.

Michigan’s ‘Don’t Regret The Bet’ program

Online casinos, also known as iGaming, offer online slots, and table casino games via mobile apps.

In Michigan, online poker is also available to consumers, including live dealer poker games, and multi-state poker games and tournaments. Michigan is one of only six states to offer online casinos and poker. The state launched online casinos in 2021, the same time that mobile sports betting debuted.

With the growth of online casinos and sports betting, states across the country are turning their attention to responsible gaming. Experts have yet to determine if gambling addiction has increased since legalization started to spread across the nation following a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2018 clearing the way.

Last Sunday, the CBS news program 60 Minutes aired a segment warning viewers of the dangers online sports betting poses to consumers, especially young men. But, that program failed to mention the millions states like Michigan spend on responsible gambling initiatives.

Michigan allocates some of the tax revenue from gaming to fund responsible gaming programs.

Michigan’s King Media worked with the MGCB to create the award-winning Don’t Regret The Bet responsible gambling campaign. This week, PlayMichigan spoke to King Media about how it crafted the ads.

The “Don’t Regret The Bet” website is a good source of resources to assist with problem gambling, including compulsive gambling.

The state also has a Problem Gambling Helpline: 1-800-270-7117.

Photo by Al Goldis / AP Photo
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a Michigan resident who writes about sports betting, sports media, casino and sports betting legislative matters. He's the author of three books, and previously reported for Major League Baseball, as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters.

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