PokerStars officially returned to Michigan on Jan. 29. It was the first and remains the only online poker operator in the state.
According to data from Poker Scout, players in Michigan have flocked to PokerStars in its early launch. PokerStars Michigan is now the 15th largest online poker room worldwide. The data on Poker Scout shows the website is tallying a seven-day average of 500 cash game players, with a 24-hour peak of 1,111.
Michigan’s averages are the highest of any of the PokerStars websites. PokerStars Pennsylvania checks in at No. 16 with a seven-day average of 425 cash game players and a 24-hour peak of 815, while PokerStars New Jersey averages 100 cash game players over a seven-day span and reached a 24-hour high of 45.
On Dec. 29, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer approved a series of bills, including SB 991 which would allow for interstate poker. With the bill passing, Michigan would be permitted to share its online player pool with other states.
The bill’s specific language states, “the board may enter into agreements with other jurisdictions, including Indian tribes, to facilitate, administer, and regulate multijurisdictional internet gaming for poker by internet gaming operators to the extent that entering into the agreement is consistent with state and federal laws.”
Still, Michigan appears a ways off before players in Michigan can compete against others across the country. During a January meeting, Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director, Richard Kalm, didn’t see Michigan making much immediate progress on interstate poker.
“We have a lot of work to do with that,” he said. “We have to enter into interstate compacts with other states that want to be involved with us. We’ve had some discussions with the state of New Jersey. That’s on the future and on the horizon.
“I don’t expect that to launch anytime soon. Maybe the end of 2021 because we’re all hands on deck to get all 15 operators and platform providers going with online sports betting and online casino-style games.”
If Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Jersey could enter into an agreement, the three would combine for more than 1,000 players on average. That total would put PokerStars United States in the top ten worldwide in online poker sites.
As it stands, the PokerStars brand will remain one of the most popular in the world, with or without a compact with those three states. With its international operations, PokerStars currently ranks No. 1 in online poker sites with the most traffic, averaging 8400 players over a seven-day average. IDN Poker (6000) and GGPoker (5400) are a distant second and third.