Good news for some online poker players is that Michigan has been accepted into the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement compact and will join that group, pending full execution of the agreement by the state of Michigan. Should that happen, as expected, it would raise the number of states in the compact to four: Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey and now, Michigan.
In March, Michigan essentially announced its application to join the compact by posting on its website guidance to gaming operators and internet gaming platform providers on preparing for the possibility that the state may someday offer interstate online poker.
As it turns out, approval from the MSIGA came quickly.
What having Michigan online poker included in the compact means is that operators who offer internet poker can offer poker games and poker tournaments with a reasonably large number of potential players from which to draw. The four states combined have a total population of about 23.4 million people.
The Michigan online interstate poker bill was signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in late December 2020.
Playing Across State Lines
Without such a compact, a state’s poker operators are limited to dealing intra-state only, as is the case in Pennsylvania.
“The Multi-State Internet Gaming Association welcomes Michigan to its ranks, along with its nearly 10 million residents, who can now avail themselves of a full array of interactive gaming among the Association’s member states,” said Rebecca Satterfield, manager of the association and the internet gaming manager for the Delaware Lottery. “The Association continues to be forward thinking and welcomes the interest of additional gaming jurisdictions in becoming party to the Agreement.”
While the compact applies to many types of internet gaming, its most commonly assumed application is in poker. In fact, Nevada only has poker as an online casino game and Michigan’s application was regarding just poker.
Will PA Join the Compact?
Few states offer internet poker and the largest of those at the moment not in the multi-state compact is Pennsylvania. In the commonwealth, compacts with other states can only be executed through the governor’s office. Pennsylvania would add a state with 12.8 million people increasing the population of the compact group by about 50%.
The only other state that has legalized internet poker is West Virginia (1.8 million people) but no gaming operator has elected to start dealing internet poker games there, although brick-and-mortar casinos in that state spread live poker. West Virginia is also not in the compact.
In poker, the more potential players, the better it is for the participants both for cash games and tournaments. In a poker tournament, having more players means larger prize pools. In poker cash games, having more players means being able to offer more variants more frequently at more price points.
In late March, the World Series of Poker announced that WSOP.com was live in Michigan joining BetMGM Michigan and PokerStars as options for poker players in the state. For WSOP, Michigan becomes the fourth state where it deals, joining Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Nevada.