MacDonald supports more funding for schools, firefighters’ cancer care

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Michael D. MacDonald on Wednesday voted for legislation to update Michigan’s gaming laws and direct more resources to schools and benefits for firefighters who develop cancer.

“It is critical that we do what we can to support our kids and our first responders, and these reforms will put additional resources into our schools and for our firefighters while providing strict oversight of online gaming,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “As we update our gaming laws for the first time in over 20 years, we are also directing $4 million into the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund to support firefighters who developed cancer while protecting our communities.”

The First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund provides benefits to firefighters with certain types of cancer without the firefighters having to prove a direct cause for the disease.

House Bills 4311, 4312 and 4323 would allow internet gaming operated by commercial casinos and tribal casinos in Michigan. Under the bills, all internet gaming operator licensees would pay the state a percentage of the gross gaming revenue they receive from internet wagering — with $2 million being deposited into the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund.

HBs 4916-4918 would legalize, regulate and tax sports betting in Michigan. The Detroit and tribal casinos would pay a percentage of their adjusted gross sports betting receipts, with most of the revenue going to support schools and compulsive gambling prevention — with an additional $2 million being directed to the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund.

“The package would also allow community and charitable organizations — such as schools and firefighter and veterans groups — to raise money through charitable gaming operations,” MacDonald said.

HB 4173 would ease the process of charitable gaming to operate in the state, and HBs 4308-4309 would legalize participation in fantasy sports contests in Michigan and provide consumer protections for participants of fantasy sports contests.