Michigan online poker players are pretty well versed on the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement by now.
Michigan was finally accepted into the MSIGA on April 6, opening the door for in-state poker players to compete against those from Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada.
While that seemed like a bit of a checkered flag for the state, a little more patience is going to be required for the launch of interstate poker.
During Tuesday’s Michigan Gaming Control Board meeting, a more clear, but still hazy timeline was provided.
Michigan needs to approve proposal to join MSIGA
Though Michigan was accepted into the MSIGA by the other states, MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams noted on Tuesday that the state still has to accept the terms of the agreement.
“We finally received a formal response last Wednesday evening, inviting us to join the agreement. We are reviewing the revised agreement now to make certain it is consistent with Michigan’s law,” Williams said. “While some news reports have indicated that we have joined the agreement, we have not done so and we won’t be proceeding until the Attorney General’s office has reviewed all relevant documents and has concluded that joining the agreement is consistent with Michigan law. We hope to have this completed shortly.”
Those words are probably not what Michigan’s poker base hoped to hear. Especially the unclear timeline.
Among some of the differences in laws between states is that some require the governor to join the agreement. Michigan just needs the MGCB, represented by the executive director, to join the agreement.
Also, Michigan limits multi-state internet gambling to poker. Other states allow other casino games to be offered like blackjack.
Additional licensing requirements needed for interstate poker
Even after Michigan approves the details of the agreement, the MGCB will still need to go through added approvals of licensees to operate multi-state platforms.
“Assuming we do enter the agreement, multi-state poker will not happen immediately,” Williams said. “Licensees interested in offering multi-state poker in Michigan still must provide some additional information and receive additional approvals for matters such as internal controls, occupational licenses and platforming game technology.”
As also previously noted, World Series of Poker Michigan will have to update its software to accommodate interstate play in the state.
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.
History of interstate poker play
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 became 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.
On April 6, 2022, Michigan was formally accepted into the MSIGA.