Michigan’s online gambling leader is no longer a member of the legislature, as his colleagues recently issued a warm farewell in the form of a House resolution.
Former state Rep. Brandt Iden, a Republican who spearheaded efforts to legalize online gaming (sports, casino, and poker), was elected in 2014 and reached the end of his term limit recently. The 37-year-old Iden took over the online gambling efforts from former Sen. Mike Kowall. Iden was able to bring the legislative package across the finish line in late 2019, marking the end of years of efforts, which also included a surprise veto from then-outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder in late 2018.
Iden was not the first lawmaker in the country to see their state legalize online gambling, but he has the distinction of being the first to figure out a way to bring a state’s robust tribal gambling industry under the same online gambling regulation as commercial casinos (in Michigan, the Detroit casinos).
Online gambling a top priority during tenure
“This legislative body is pleased to honor and thank Representative Brandt Iden for his service,” House Resolution No. 364 reads. “He faithfully and thoroughly performed his duties during his three terms as a legislator to the benefit of the Legislature, the Sixty-first District residents of the city of Portage and townships of Oshtemo, Prairie Ronde, Schoolcraft, and Texas, and the state of Michigan.”
Iden served as vice chair of the Communications and Technology Committee and later as chair of the Regulatory Reform and Ways and Means committees. He also worked on several other committees in the Wolverine State during his five years in office.
“Among his varied policy work, he advanced legislation to allow student athletes to be compensated for their images and to regulate online casino-style gaming and sports wagering,” the resolution stated.
“We offer this expression of tribute to commend and thank the Honorable Brandt Iden for his notable contributions to this legislative body and to our entire state.”
Iden is also an avid sports bettor. Iden was present when retail wagering kicked off in Detroit last March, and mobile wagering is expected to commence at some point later this month. Online casino gambling should kick off in February.