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Sports betting bills scheduled to see movement this week

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Plans to make Michigan a sports betting state are moving through the state Legislature. A package of bills is scheduled to be voted out of a House committee Tuesday.

The bills would create a Division of Sports Betting in the state’s Gaming Control Board. If passed, the division would create rules, license sports betting establishments and oversee organizations with sports betting licenses.

Opponents of expanding gambling in the state say it could negatively impact the state lottery, which puts money toward the state’s schools.

Republican Representative Brandt Iden is a bill sponsor. He says it wouldn’t take away from the lottery because people either play on all platforms or they have certain games that they like.

He says, “These are new funds that we should be contemplating in this budget cycle in my opinion as the administration looks for more dollars.”

The bills would not allow people to bet on some events – like high school sports, fantasy sports, and horse racing.

Iden says he goes across the Michigan border to bet on sports games – and he sees Michigan license plates in the parking lots.

“We have to move forward with this because what we’re seeing is we are losing customers to other states,” he says.

A spokesperson for Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the governor is open to discussions on the bills. But she’s concerned it will draw money from the state lottery and in turn, the School Aid Fund.

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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