Social media games that reward players with extra playing time will no longer be considered gambling in Michigan thanks to a new bill that has been signed into law.
The Associated Press reported that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed Senate Bill 202 on Tuesday, establishing that state laws against gambling do not apply to a “social media internet game.”
“Social media Internet game” is defined in the bill as a game offered over the Internet or on a telephone or other mobile device.
The new law, which was introduced by Republican Sen. Jack Brandenburg on March 1, specifies that Chapter 44 of the Michigan Penal Code would not prohibit a social media internet game from rewarding a player. The bill does not cover fantasy sports.
Prior to the enactment of the bill, the House found that gambling operators use the social media games to attract new customers. These social network games, according to the legislators, are continuing to gain in popularity due to its accessibility to the players.
The problem, however, lies with the fact that added plays or the ability to buy additional plays in these games constitutes gaming under a state Supreme Court case from the mid-1980s because it creates value.
Legislators said there was a clamor to amend the law and create an exemption for these games.
“With such growing popularity, some businesses have seen a potential to use similar free online social media games to grow their brand. In particular, some casinos have created social media Internet games played through their websites as a way to draw new customers to their casinos. The games are generally free and offer additional plays rather than actual prizes, though additional plays often can be purchased for a few dollars,” a House Fiscal Agency analysis said. “Since the games are seen more as a marketing tool to promote a specific business, and not as a means of revenue, some feel the gaming laws should be amended to create an exemption for such social media Internet games.”