When Will Michigan Online Poker Players Be Dealt Into Interstate Compact?

Written By Drew Ellis on April 7, 2022
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Michigan poker players are so close to the finish line for interstate play.

With Wednesday’s news that Michigan has been accepted into the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, just one step remains.

Now, an online operator in the state, likely World Series of Poker MI, just has to allow Michigan players into its interstate play.

Just when can the state expect that final step?

Awaiting clearance from WSOP

WSOP Michigan is the only poker operator live in the state that has taken advantage of the MSIGA.

Once Michigan players are clear, they can begin to compete against poker players from Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.

Efforts to reach WSOP and Caesars by PlayMichigan haven’t been immediately returned as we seek more clarity on the timeline for Michigan poker players being cleared.

If New Jersey is any indicator, it took about six months between the time it was accepted into the compact before WSOP was able to go live with interstate play.

WSOP should have a better grasp on the process now. However, WSOP uses two different versions of its software in the states that would compete with one another, as Alex Weldon of Online Poker Report notes:

It’s unthinkable that WSOP would keep the Michigan site separate, so an update for the currently networked states will be required. The question is how quickly it can roll that out.

It’s hard to guess what WSOP will do. It depends entirely on how much preparation they’ve already done, and what timeline they’re getting from the MGCB.

We can turn this around, however, and watch WSOP for clues about the bigger picture. If it announces a software update in the next couple of weeks, that probably means liquidity sharing will begin before the series. If it doesn’t update, then we’re probably looking at several months’ wait.

Along with interstate play, the clearance will also expand the gaming options for Michigan players, allowing them to enter into WSOP Online Bracelet Series events.

Those events begin on June 5 this year and run through July 17. Michigan players will be able to take part this time around once cleared.

In New Jersey and Nevada, WSOP ran 33 Online Bracelet events from July 1-Aug. 1 of 2021 and dished out more than $18.2 million in prizes.

BetMGM and PokerStars could jump onboard

Another big question is what will happen with BetMGM Poker and PokersStars MI. Neither operates in Delaware or Nevada, so an interstate compact wasn’t possible. But both operate in New Jersey and Michigan.

With the ability for interstate play now available, all operators are likely to seek what options are available for them.

“BetMGM applauds MSIGA for admitting Michigan into the consortium. Shared liquidity is paramount to the growth of online poker and this is a huge step in the right direction,” Luke Staudenmaier, BetMGM Director of Poker, told Online Poker Report. “We remain committed to expanding BetMGM’s poker offering and look forward to serving shared player pools in the future.”

Regular players excited for new options

Upon Wednesday night’s announcement, online poker players in the state expressed their excitement to finally compete against others around the country.

Bigger tournament fields mean bigger payouts, which is something most players can get behind.

“My play (online) will increase because I’m a tournament player and I’ll now be able to play for more money,” said Peter Hotaling, 35, of Rochester Hills. “I’m excited about the tournaments with larger prize pools and the bracelet events.”

While the prize money may increase, the level of play should as well. But, Michiganders are prideful and eager to prove their mettle with other states.

History of interstate poker compact

The interstate poker compact is as simple as allowing players from different states to compete against each other.

In 2015, Delaware and Nevada signed a deal to share online poker liquidity. Each state received the revenue generated from the players of their respective state. That was the initial MSIGA.

In 2017, New Jersey would be the third state to join the agreement and expand the playing field.

Five years later, Michigan becomes the fourth state accepted into the agreement. Pennsylvania seems like a natural fit, as well, as it also has WSOP as an operator. But there are still hurdles to jump through there.

Michigan first legalized online poker in 2019, but it didn’t go live until January of 2021.

In late 2020, multi-state online poker compacts were signed into legislation in Michigan.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis has lived in Michigan his whole life, and has been writing professionally for the last 21 years. Ellis has covered anything from youth baseball in mid-Michigan, a top-25 college football program, and pro sports in the Detroit area. Always keeping busy, Ellis also has over 10 years of experience in covering sports betting, handling all major sports.

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