LANSING, Mich. (MIRS News) – The House Fiscal Agency predicted $60 million a year from the I-Casino/Sports Betting law. The law’s sponsor had it at $100 million.

Wrong on both counts. It turns out the new law brought in $125 million during the first year, and former Rep. Brandt Iden said he thinks it will go even higher.

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“If we stay on this path, I think we’re going to do close to $250 million by the end of 2022, which is fantastic and remember this goes to K-12 education,” he glowed. Both Internet gaming options are currently pouring a nifty $25 million a month into state coffers.

But there was a heretofore-never-reported moment when the former West Michigan Republican concluded his gaming measure was not going to be a sure bet.

The first blow came when former Gov. Rick Snyder phoned Iden to inform him that his veto pen would kill the measure.

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Then a new governor came in and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was clearly not on board for fears the new betting would siphon profits away from the state Lottery, which would hurt education.

But then Iden’s fears turned to joy after he turned to “my friend” Sen. Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing), who turned to his friend, the governor, and bingo, the bill came back to life.

MIRS wondered if it was fair to say none of this would have happened had it not been for Hertel?

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“I would definitely say that,” he revealed.

Sure, the Governor got her 23% tax on the I-Casinos. He was at a much lower number. But he was willing to make the concession.

So why has this expanded gaming taken off?

Iden thinks COVID helped to lay the foundation for higher profits, as gamblers were forced to stay at home while the casinos were shuttered.

Plus, “Michigan has always been a gambling state. We’ve got the Lottery, 23 tribal casinos, three commercial casinos. We are a good gambling state,” he added. Others have made note of that he reports.

“Michigan has become the model and Arizona and Connecticut” are the latest to be following in our footsteps as they join 35 other states already in the I-Gaming arena.

Clearly, the on-line casinos are the real cash cows for the state. About 80% of the new state revenue coming in are from those venues with the rest flowing from sports betting, which is considerably less profitable.

He was asked, “Is that because Michigan has such lousy sports teams?”

The affable Brandt laughed and offered, “I wouldn’t bet on the Lions but if you want to do that, be my guest,” as he laughed again.

Wonder if they are chuckling over at Ford Field?

They are certainly smiling at the state Treasury.