June 14, 2022

Senate panel approves bill creating clear regulatory framework for hard-hit hospitality industry 

LANSING — Social hall operators, restaurant owners and others in the hospitality industry are applauding today’s Senate committee to create clear rules for redemption games, helping business owners continue to realize a potential revenue stream during challenging economic times. 

The Senate Regulatory Reform Committee voted 6-3 today to approve Senate Bill 1065 and it now moves to the full Senate for a vote. 

State Sen. Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway Township, said he introduced the bill to provide clarity to regulations over redemption games because they provide business owners an important revenue stream when they greatly need it. Bars, restaurants, arcades and social halls continue to face high costs, labor shortages and low supply levels due to ongoing supply chain challenges.  

“We’re not trying to create anything new with this bill, we are simply trying to clarify what is allowed – and what is not allowed – so small business owners and charitable organizations are not unfairly penalized by state regulatory agencies,” said Lauwers, the Senate majority floor leader. 

Redemption games are games that require some skill, whether it is a timing maneuver on a video screen, moving a crane arm or solving a puzzle. They provide opportunities for players to win prizes ranging from stuffed animals to gift cards. And they mean another revenue stream for small businesses that continue to grapple with fallout from the pandemic. 

A survey of more than 40 bars and restaurant owners by the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association showed that these redemption games help attract customers and keep patrons in seats longer. Some of these business owners report redemption games can bring in $8,000 to $20,000 in additional revenue each year. 

Leo Cowdry, the post commander of the Bath American Legion Post 412 in Bath, Michigan, said his hall has a handful of redemption games and they play an important part in revenue for the hall so it can continue to offer services for area veterans.  

“Senate Bill 1065 will help us avoid the uncertainty and confusion that arises when a 25-year-old law hasn’t been updated,” Cowdry said. “This bill would create clarity for these kinds of games and, ultimately, it is a way for the state to support veterans across Michigan, the proud men and women who have bravely and selflessly served this country.”