- Michigan lawmakers are trying to introduce an amendment for multi-state player pools for poker and iGaming ahead of online poker’s official launch this year
- SB 991 has successfully passed an initial vote and is headed for the Senate and House of Representatives
- As per the bill, multi-jurisdictional compacts with tribal operators will be allowed
SB 911, a new bill focusing on multijurisdictional online poker, has successfully passed a first legal test. If approved, Michigan may soon join other jurisdictions like Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, and possibly Pennsylvania to expand the pool of poker players in the United States.
Michigan Pushes for the Legalization of Inter-State Online Poker
Michigan may soon see interstate online poker become a reality, as lawmakers are moving closer to allowing local residents to compete with poker enthusiasts from other states.
A bill introduced by State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr aims to amend the existing Lawful Internet Gaming Act and allow the state regulator to expand current license holders’ rights to offer cross-border poker options.
Should lawmakers agree to vote SB 991 into law, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) will have the legal groundwork to expand the clout of online poker in the state and allow operators to build cross-border pools of players.
The bill has enjoyed support so far. Originally introduced on June 25, it was finally voted in the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee last week where it garnered the necessary votes to proceed to the Senate.
If the bill is approved by the Senate, it will be sent to the House of Representatives for a final vote. Should that go without any complications, it would be up to Governor Gretchen Whitmer to sign the bill into law or send it back for revision and restart the entire process.
Focusing on Online Poker and Casinos Only
SB 991 has a moderate approach as to what can be feasibly achieved and what lacks enough support. As a result, lawmakers are pushing for the legalization of multi-jurisdictional access to poker and online casinos only.
Sports betting, lotteries, and other gaming contests are left out of the bill completely. SB 991 would also allow compacts with tribal operators and jurisdictions, boosting the potential pool of players for poker multiple-fold.
So far, though, there is no specific date when online poker is going to launch in Michigan. Previous information by the MGCB and the board’s executive director Richard S. Kalm put the launch for “late fall”, meaning anything between now and December.
Once poker goes live in Michigan, the state will welcome both PokerStars MI and partypoker MI, the two leading card rooms, which are opening dedicated websites for the state. It’s expected that WSOP MI, owned by Caesars and the official host of the World Series of Poker (WSOP), will be joining soon.
However, no information has been submitted to the Supplier License Applications just yet. The clock is ticking on Michigan’s online poker community, which seems excited for the pending multi-state online poker option.
One wrinkle to sort out though is the looming threat from the Wire Act. Due to an interpretation introduced in 2019, the Department of Justice may try to stem any inter-state poker, lottery, and other gaming activity.