Michigan One Step Closer To Interstate Online Poker

Legal online poker will soon be a reality in Michigan. When state-regulated poker sites launch in Michigan, player networks on those platforms might not be limited to just the Wolverine State.

Senate Bill 0991 outlines regulations for “multijurisdictional internet poker” and is one signature away from going into law. The bill passed through the Michigan House of Representatives by an 85-16 vote on Dec. 17.

The state Senate voted to pass the bill by a 36-1 margin in October. After getting the yes vote from both the state House and Senate, SB 0991 now only needs a signature from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to pass into law.

Pro-gambling lawmakers in Michigan expect Gov. Whitmer to sign the bill, allowing Michigan to enter into shared player pool agreements with other states offering legal US online poker.

What Shared Poker Liquidity Would Mean For Michigan

Michigan could soon join Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania as states offering legal online poker. Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware entered into a pact called the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) in 2017, allowing regulated poker sites in each state to share player pools.

Michigan’s entry into the MSIGA could greatly expand the potential of online poker in the state, for both players and operators. Without sharing player liquidity with other states, Michigan’s online poker sites could only draw from players located within the state while they play.

Michigan’s 10-million population could join New Jersey (9.25 million), Nevada (3.1 million), and Delaware (1 million) in a shared player pool that would include more than 23 million in combined population from all four states.

WSOP.com currently allows shared player liquidity between its Nevada and New Jersey platforms. The arrangement allows New Jersey players to participate in World Series of Poker online bracelet events each year, boosting the poker economy in both states in the peak months for poker activity.

WSOP doesn’t have a land-based casino partner announced for the Michigan market yet, but at some point, the Caesars Entertainment-owned brand stands as a likely candidate to operate in Michigan.

Partypoker & PokerStars Coming To Michigan

Partypoker (under the MGM Grand Detroit license) and PokerStars (license partner of Odawa Casino Resort) do have agreements in place to launch in Michigan. Both platforms operate in New Jersey, and Michigan’s entry into the MSIGA could allow both to expand into shared player networks between Michigan and New Jersey.

Partypoker NJ renamed its product as the partypoker US Network earlier this year, perhaps pointing to signs of an interstate partypoker network in the states at some point.

Michigan gaming regulators point to an early 2021 launch for online casinos and mobile sports betting products in the state. It could take longer for online poker products to launch, however.

PokerStars also operates in Pennsylvania, with both WSOP.com and partypoker approved for launch in the state. Pennsylvania hasn’t passed any multijurisdictional internet gaming laws, however, and for now, Pennsylvania’s online poker sites are limited to in-state competition only.

About the Author

Geoffrey Fisk

Geoff Fisk is a San Diego-based freelance writer, specializing in the poker and gambling industries. He’s written for numerous platforms and has traveled the globe as a live poker tournament reporter. Geoff’s interests include the legal online poker industry in the U.S. and abroad.