It’s a day that Michigan poker players have been waiting many months for.
The state was accepted Wednesday, April 6, into the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, paving the way for an interstate poker compact. The acceptance was announced in a release by the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association.
An interstate poker compact will allow Michigan poker players to play head-to-head against players in other states that are part of the MSIGA.
With this major step now cleared, and the launch a week ago of World Series of Poker MI, it opens the door for in-state players to get their Christmas present early (or very late, depending on how you look at it).
What is an interstate poker compact?
Michigan legalized online poker play in 2019 and officially went live in January of 2021. However, play has been limited to competition within state lines.
Now, in-state players will be able to compete alongside players from Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey. Pennsylvania also has its sights set on joining, but is still awaiting clearance from in-state entities.
Delaware first legalized online poker in 2012. Nevada followed soon after.
In 2015, the two states signed a deal to share online poker liquidity. Each state would receive the revenue generated by players of their respective state. That became the MSIGA.
In 2017, New Jersey signed on to become the third state to join the agreement.
What was holding up the deal?
In December of 2020, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law legislation allowing multi-state online poker compacts.
While Whitmer signed the deal into law, Michigan still needed acceptance into the agreement by the other three existing states.
Michigan did have some minor changes it was requesting upon joining, according to David Murley, the Deputy Director of Online Gaming & Legal Affairs at the Michigan Gaming Control Board. However, it was anticipated that the state would be accepted in by the end of 2021.
That clearly did not happen, but not due to a lack of desire from the state.
“We don’t have a timeline at this point. We have asked to join the compact, highlighted some of the changes we would request,” Murley told PlayMichigan in 2021. “For example, under Michigan law, the Executive Director enters the compact on behalf of the State of Michigan, while the multi-state compact requires a state’s Governor to sign in order to join and admit future members. I don’t anticipate any problems letting us join, but it is Michigan that is doing the requesting and the other states have to admit us, so we have to move at their timetable.”
WSOP Michigan launch another key component
WSOP Michigan launched on March 28, and is the only poker operator live in MI that currently makes use of the MSIGA. It will need to allow Michigan players into its interstate play, which is expected soon.
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.
WSOP Online Bracelet Series events will begin on June 5 this year and run through July 17. Michigan players, presumably, will be able to take part this time around.