Report: Michigan’s top Republican lawmaker wagered $73K on sports bets in one month

By Kyle Kaminski

May 21, 2024

Reports show that Michigan House Minority Leader Matt Hall placed roughly $73,000 in online sports bets in the span of just 33 days—more than his annual salary in Lansing.

MICHIGAN—A report published this month by Rolling Stone shows that Republican state House Minority Leader Matt Hall placed tens of thousands of dollars in sports bets over the course of one month shortly before he was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives.

According to the report, an account associated with Hall’s personal email appears to have placed roughly $73,000 in online sports bets in a span of just 33 days, about eight months before he was elected to serve his first term in the state House of Representatives in 2019.

Hall’s gambling history was reportedly revealed as a result of a data breach at Action Network, a website Hall apparently used to track his bets across five betting platforms. Screenshots provided to Rolling Stone showed Hall’s account placing about $73,000 in bets in January 2018—which, at the time, was more than the entire annual salary of a state legislator.

According to the report, Hall’s account also showed a net loss of about $9,000.

In a statement, a spokesperson representing Hall insisted the information was “blatantly untrue” without providing an explanation for the transactions or denying that they were made by Hall.

“This accusation, stemming from before Leader Hall was even in the Legislature, is blatantly untrue,” Greg Manz, a spokesman for the Michigan House Republican Campaign Committee, told Rolling Stone. “Sadly, Rolling Stone would rather employ tabloid tactics, act as liberal activists, and do the bidding of feckless House Democrats, than practice journalistic integrity.”

At the time of Hall’s alleged gambling spree in 2018, online sports betting hadn’t yet been legalized in Michigan. But after Hall was elected to office, he sponsored part of the state legislation to exempt sports betting from the Michigan penal code, Rolling Stone reports.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the Lawful Sports Betting Act into law in December 2019.

During his time in office, Hall has also reportedly developed a reputation as a friend and champion of the gaming industry—including introducing bills in 2020 to repeal a ban on campaign donations from casino interests and in 2021 to legalize betting on horse races.

Hall’s History

Hall is also facing scrutiny after police reports revealed that he was accused in 2019 of assaulting his girlfriend and interfering in a 911 call, according to reports from The Daily Beast.

According to an incident report filed with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, Hall and his girlfriend were driving to Indiana “for some type of sports betting” in 2019 when Hall became angry and smashed his girlfriend’s phone screen after she tried to dial 911 for help.

Hall ultimately wasn’t charged in the incident—but the police reports have raised new questions this year about whether he has been living up to his ethical responsibilities as a state lawmaker.

In January, a group of Michigan women called on the state House to launch an investigation into Hall’s “violent and disturbing” behavior, figure out why he wasn’t charged with a crime in 2019, and then determine whether he should be booted from office over the alleged domestic assault.

Specifically, the Michiganders who signed the letter requested that the state House Committee on Ethics and Oversight Committee look into whether Hall violated House rules that state lawmakers are to “maintain the integrity and responsibility” of their office, and never engage in any conduct that could “substantially impair[s] the public confidence in the House.”

“Domestic violence is wrong. Plain and simple. As leaders in this State, we have a shared duty to demonstrate that violent behavior towards an intimate partner will never be tolerated—and to build a community where everyone, and especially women, can feel safe,” the letter states.

Last year, Hall also faced criticism over violent threats that he was accused of making during his time as a student at Western Michigan University in 2001—including when he allegedly threatened another student with gun violence and warned that “the South will rise again.”

Those reports have raised more questions over whether Hall is capable of fairly evaluating state legislation that is designed to reduce domestic violence and prevent shootings in Michigan.

In addition to voting against a series of popular gun safety reforms last year, Hall also voted against a new law in Michigan that temporarily prevents those convicted of domestic violence from owning or possessing a gun for a period of eight years after they complete their sentence.

Hall was re-elected in 2022 to represent Michigan’s 42nd District, which includes portions of Allegan and Kalamazoo counties, and is expected to run for reelection again this year. Michigan Democratic Party Youth Chair Austin Marsman has filed to run against Hall for the seat.

The primary election is Aug. 6. The general election is Nov. 5.

READ MORE: Leaders demand investigation of ‘disturbing’ behavior from top Republican

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Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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