The Michigan Gaming Control Board announced Monday it has signed an agreement allowing Michigan online poker players to compete across state lines.
It’s the latest step toward Michiganders being dealt into hands with players from Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey, the other states included in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement. The onus now falls on the state’s three online poker operators — BetMGM Poker, PokerStars MI and World Series of Poker MI — to meet the MGCB’s requirements and fully open the door.
What’s next to get to interstate poker?
Monday marks another big milestone in this journey for Michigan online poker players, as the finish line is getting near.
“I am happy to announce Michigan has joined the multistate poker compact, and much of the increased tax revenue from multistate poker will go to support K-12 education in Michigan,” MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams said in a press release. “By joining, Michigan will almost double the potential pool of participants in multistate poker games.”
Now, the MGCB must authorize platforms to be able to launch multistate poker. Licensed operators and platform providers will need to complete the following steps, which were issued in April, to grant participation.
- Meet all conditions and requirements established in the multijurisdictional agreement and conduct multistate poker involving only the jurisdictions in the agreement.
- Approval for new platforms or platform modifications, new remote gaming systems and new game software.
- Technical security standards information plus review and inspection are required for a new data center, and the agency must give written approval for servers capable of receiving wagers located outside of Michigan.
- Any new suppliers used in connection with multistate poker must obtain internet gaming supplier licenses, including new platform providers, and new vendors may be required to register with the MGCB.
- New operator or platform provider employees involved in the conduct of multistate poker may need to obtain occupational licenses from the MGCB.
“The operators still have work to do before Michigan residents may join multistate poker games,” Williams said. “The MGCB must make sure Michigan residents are protected when they play multistate poker, and we will apply the same rigor to review of the new offering as we have other internet games.”
WSOP working on requirements
The final phase in this multi-year effort for interstate poker play is software updates.
WSOP Michigan launched on March 28. It uses the Poker 8 Platform that made its debut with WSOP Pennsylvania and was considered an upgrade from older software used by other states in the MSIGA.
The different platforms used by the states in the MSIGA must be worked out before the MGCB can give the go-ahead to WSOP for interstate play.
As of now, no timeline has been provided by WSOP as to when it expects to have its platform meet the MGCB’s requirements.
History of Michigan’s efforts to get to interstate poker
Michigan first legalized online poker back in 2019, but didn’t go live with it until January 2021.
Michigan Legislature passed a bill in December of 2020 to allow the MGCB to join a multijurisdictional poker compact. The bill was signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Dec. 29, 2020.
The state then applied to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, and was finally accepted in on April 6.
Six weeks later, Michigan has approved the proposal to join the MSIGA.
“Michigan poker players will enjoy more options and will likely play for bigger money when they can compete against players from other states,” said Sen. Curtis Hertel. “I am glad we were able to make this possible for Michigan poker players.”