Michigan Poker Players Closer to Competing Against Players in Other States

Michigan Poker Players Closer to Competing Against Players in Other States
By Bill Ordine

Michigan online poker players are closer to being able to compete against poker players in a handful of other states after Michigan announced it has signed a multijurisdictional poker agreement.

The agreement signed by Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Henry Williams opens the door to allowing Michigan players to compete against players in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey, but a number of regulatory conditions still have to be met 

Previously, those three states were the only members of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). Michigan has now joined the group, which is good news for anyone interested in poker or Michigan online casinos.

Michigan’s addition almost doubles the pool of potential players in the MSIGA sphere. Having more players is key to successful poker tournaments and also helps cash games. Michigan’s acceptance into MSIGA was first announced in early April, pending Michigan signing the agreement.

To grow the list of such states, first a jurisdiction has to legalize online poker and that has been slow-going.  A state that would seem a likely candidate to join the group is Pennsylvania since it is one of the few states that already has launched intra-state internet poker but there’s been no discernible movement there.

‘Almost Double the Potential Pool’

“I am happy to announce Michigan has joined the multistate poker compact, and much of the increased tax revenue from multistate poker will go to support K-12 education in Michigan,” Williams said in a news release on Monday. “By joining, Michigan will almost double the potential pool of participants in multistate poker games.”

Michigan’s population is about 10 million and the three states already in the MSIGA have a combined population of 13.4 million. Pennsylvania would add nearly 13 million.

However, before Michigan poker players can start signing up for any multi-state poker tournaments, operators and their associated platform providers have an extensive to-do punch list, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board. 

Work Left to Do for Providers

The MGCB news release spelled out those requirements:

  • Meet all conditions and requirements established in the multijurisdictional agreement and conduct multistate poker involving only the jurisdictions in the agreement
  • Approval for new platforms or platform modifications, new remote gaming systems and new game software
  • Technical security standards information plus review and inspection are required for a new data center, and the agency must give written approval for servers capable of receiving wagers located outside of Michigan
  • Any new suppliers used in connection with multistate poker must obtain internet gaming supplier licenses, including new platform providers, and new vendors may be required to register with the MGCB
  • New operator or platform provider employees involved in the conduct of multistate poker may need to obtain occupational licenses from the MGCB.

Michigan Licensed Operators

So far, Michigan has three licensed online poker operators — MGM Grand Detroit with BetMGM; the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians with World Series of Poker, and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians with PokerStars.

With some foresight, the Michigan legislature provided for the state to compact with other jurisdictions in appropriate situations for inter-state gaming in December 2020. In Michigan, interstate play is limited to poker.

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A longtime reporter and editor who began writing on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened, Bill covered the world Series of Poker and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for a decade.

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