Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed the Michigan online interstate poker bill into law.
SB 991 was approved by a vote of 85-16 in the Michigan House of Representatives in December. The bill authorizes the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to enter into agreements to facilitate online poker with other jurisdictions. Michigan would be eligible to pool players with operators in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.
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Whitmer approved the interstate poker bill on Dec. 29, according to the legislative website. In December 2019, Whitmer signed a package of gambling bills that legalized online sports betting, online gaming and online poker. Michigan will be the first state with commercial and Native American casinos as well as online sports and casino gaming when the market launches in early 2021.
The poker bill passed by the Michigan legislature is projected to increase play and wagering in the online poker market. It is estimated that increased action and betting in online poker would result in a small increase in tax revenues for both the city of Detroit and the School Aid Fund.
The statute also requires 5% of internet gaming taxes be distributed to the Michigan Agriculture Equine Industry Development Fund. This bill would incrementally increase revenues to the fund.
Getting the Bill Through
SB 991 was introduced by Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. in June because 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 in early October.
The bill also establishes the definition of poker as “the traditional game of poker and any derivative of the game of poker,” as approved by the MGCB.
The bill passed through the House Ways and Means Committee on Dec. 2. The bill has previously made its way through the House Regulatory Reform Committee.
The MGCB on Dec. 10 approved provisional licenses for 15 platform providers who will support the online casino gaming and mobile sports betting offerings from commercial and tribal casinos.
Editor's note: This story was updated on Jan. 5 to reflect that Whitmer signed the bill into law.