Economy
12:58 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Michigan takes another step toward expanding casino gambling

The group behind a push to allow eight new private casinos in Michigan handed in more than a half million signatures today to put the issue on the November ballot. 

Citizens for More Michigan Jobs delivered its petitions to the Secretary of State’s office, two weeks before the July 9 deadline. They also collected about 200,000 signatures more than they need to put the issue before voters in November.

The petition drive has taken place as attacks from Michigan’s existing casinos have ramped up. They say Michigan’s gambling industry is already at a saturation point. The counter-campaign claims more casinos will hurt Michigan’s existing gaming venues.

“I think that the voters and residents are seeing through the hypocrisy of the existing casinos not wanting competition,” says Emily Gerkin Palsrok, the spokeswoman for the group wanting to add more casinos.   

If the proposal is approved by Michigan voters, the state constitution would be amended to allow licenses for four more private casinos in metro Detroit. The other four would be located in Lansing, Cadillac, Grand Rapids and Birch Run.

Palsrok says eight more casinos will generate thousands of jobs and boost state tax revenues.