Michigan Legislature Lays Groundwork For Multi-State Online Poker

Michigan Governor signed State Senate Bill 0991 over the holidays. The somewhat under-the-radar move paves the way for multijurisdictional online poker to come to Michigan. 

The bill will become law approximately 90 days from signing. It may not be quick to take action, but Michigan’s slow and steady trek toward legal online gambling leaves a bit of time before players can actually participate in online poker rooms. 

What This Means For Michigan

Michigan’s 2019 legislation authorizing online gambling included online poker, online casinos, online sportsbooks, and Daily Fantasy Sports. The state, unlike many other markets, saw fit to legalize all these forms of online gaming in one fell swoop. 

One omission from the legislation, however, was the lack of allowance for multijurisdictional poker rooms. If the law stayed in its original form, Michigan poker players would’ve been required to play only with other players in the state. Now that Senate Bill 0991 is signed, the state has the opportunity to join multi-state pacts allowing markets to pool their players. 

Could Michigan Join A Multistate Agreement?

Though Michigan has a population of nearly 10 million, the percentage of those people who would play online poker (and would be legally allowed/old enough to do so) results in a rather small in-state player pool. The most likely course of action would be for Michigan to join forces with other states. 

The most probable outcome, though by no means confirmed, is an expansion of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement to include Michigan. Currently, the agreement allows Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey to pool players. This means players from each state can play against poker enthusiasts in either of the other states. Effectively, the agreement greatly enhances the pool of possible players by not limiting participants to virtual tables that only include in-state opponents. 

The MSIGA originally only included Nevada and Delaware, so the addition of New Jersey sets an important precedent. It’s entirely possible that Michigan’s passing of SB 0991 is the first step toward joining those states in the agreement. 

Pennsylvania, another state where online poker is legal, has yet to join the MSIGA. Like Michigan, though, it is widely expected to join or form a separate agreement with other regulated markets. 

Michigan is well on its way to becoming an online gambling hub. This development is the latest in a long line that showcases the state’s dedication to creating a strong environment for online sports bettors, casino gamers, and poker players. 

About the Author

Cole Rush

Cole Rush is a Chicago-based freelance writer in the gambling, media, and entertainment space. His work has been showcased in various gaming industry magazines and online columns. Prior to freelance writing, Cole spent seven years in communications at a gambling and lottery supplier.