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Gov. Whitmer and state lawmaker in standoff over online gaming

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Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
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Governor Gretchen Whitmer is pushing back against legislation to allow online casino gambling in Michigan.

Whitmer is worried that if people are playing online casino games, they won’t play state lottery games. Money from the state lottery goes toward the School Aid Fund for K-12 schools.

“I’ve said very clearly, over and over again, that protecting the School Aid Fund, ensuring that we get every dollar back into the education of our kids is my top priority,” says Whitmer.” So I’m going to have a hard time supporting anything that doesn’t protect that goal.”

State Representative Brandt Iden (R-Oshtemo Township) is a bill sponsor. He says people are gaming online already. He says legalization would make sure those people are protected – and it would bring in more money for the state for roads and schools.

“That’s one of the things that the governor desperately needs right now. She’s looking for increased dollars for roads, she’s looking for increased dollars for education,” says Iden. “And what I’m proposing is a way to help get her there and I certainly hope she doesn’t stand in the way of bringing more dollars to kids.”

Iden says other states have not had a problem with a reduction in lottery revenue after allowing online casino gaming.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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