Good news for Michigan poker players continued on Wednesday.
A bill to amend the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, which would allow for interstate poker in Michigan, passed through the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday. The bill previously made its way through the House Regulatory Reform Committee earlier this week.
SB 991 received nine yes votes and just one no vote.
Next, the bill will be required to pass through the House floor. It would need to be approved by the House of Representatives and signed off by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer before it officially becomes law.
Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. has been one of the primary advocates for online poker and bill SB 991. He has continued to modify the bill and has clarified it to ensure Michigan online poker would be eligible for multi-state polling.
Originally, Michigan’s Lawful Internet Gaming Act included language that would allow multi-state online poker agreements. But before it could be passed in December 2019, the legislature removed it after a request from the Michigan Lottery.
If the amendment does pass, Michigan could enter into a Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement with New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. The deal allows players in each of those states to take part in interstate online poker pools. With Michigan joining, it would bring a new online poker market and an increasing player pool.
Michigan could also decide to make individual deals with each of those states. But whatever avenues Michigan does decide to explore with online poker, it will depend on SB 991 getting passed by the House and then signed by Whitmer.
Launch could be coming late December
Michigan online gaming and mobile sports betting took a major step forward on Tuesday. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) waived the required 15 session days for the final draft of the gaming rules to be before the committee.
The state’s online gaming launch could have been delayed until 2021 if the JCAR did not grant the waiver request from the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Now the MGCB can proceed and forward the rules to the Office of the Great Seal.
Once the state files the completed rules, casino and sportsbook applicants, along with their partners, will be required to earn final licensing approval from the MGCB. All applicants must submit approval letters from independent test labs, which are then forwarded to the MGCB. The MGCB is responsible for ensuring all the platforms and games meet the technical requirements.
“Board staff will work with operators, platform providers, suppliers and vendors on pre-launch requirements,” said Mary Kay Bean, communications specialist for the MGCB. “Launch depends on many things, including applicants submitting all required information, review of that information, approval of the internet platforms and games and other licensing-related tasks. If everything moves forward smoothly, we hope online gaming and sports betting can begin by the end of the year.”