SB 991, which would amend the Lawful Internet Gaming Act to allow for the possibility of interstate online poker was set to be discussed at Thursday’s scheduled meeting by the House Committee on Regulatory Reform. But the hearing did not occur, meaning no new process on the bill took place.
The next discussion on the Michigan bill will take place at a meeting on a date that’s still to be determined.
Online interstate poker is just one aspect of gaming Michigan is looking to add to its offerings. The Michigan Gaming Control Board is currently hopeful for a late November launch of online casinos and mobile sports betting.
The MGCB put in a waiver request regarding the required 15 session days the state’s gaming rules must be before the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). If the waiver is not granted, the launch would be postponed until early 2021.
Online Poker Timeline
During the virtual public hearing held by the MGCB to listen to public comments regarding iGaming and online sports betting, one person asked about a potential timeline for the launch of poker in Michigan. David Murley, head of MGCB Indian Gaming and Legal Affairs, explained it’s up to the operators and platform providers to decide what games are available upon release.
“Once the rules go into effect, that will allow us to give licenses to both the operators and the platform providers,” he said. “End of November, that’s our hope. But that will again depend on everything getting turned in, reviewed and approved. Then secondly, ultimately, what the operators and platform providers decide to do in terms of launching their product.”
SB 991 was introduced since interstate online poker wasn’t included in the Lawful Internet Gaming Act. In September, the bill passed the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee before being approved by the senate with a 36-1 vote.
It remains to be seen what state Michigan could align its online player poker pools with. WSOP.com is the only network in the U.S. that offers interstate poker and serves Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey. It remains to be seen if WSOP will launch in Michigan.
PokerStars is active in Pennsylvania, and in 2017, the state expanded its gambling laws in 2017 to allow for the sharing of online poker player pools. But Pennsylvania has yet to reach any liquidity sharing agreements.