Michigan Likely Next For WSOP.com, Which Announces July 12 Pennsylvania Launch

Written By Matt Schoch on July 8, 2021

The Mitten could be fitting itself soon for bracelets. World Series of Poker Michigan is launching this month in Pennsylvania without interstate online poker capabilities.

With or without the ability for players to compete across state lines, Michigan could be next.

It should only be a matter of time until WSOP announces a MI launch, thus becoming the third Michigan online poker operator.

WSOP, which this week announced it would go live July 12 in Pennsylvania, would join BetMGM Poker Michigan and PokerStars MI as operators here.

For the PA launch, WSOP promised “the best sign-up offer, the largest guarantees and a new and improved WSOP.com poker client.”

WSOP has indicated summer launch in MI

During a first-quarter earnings call in April, 888 Holdings CEO Itai Pazner said WSOP was on the verge of launching in two states, referring to Pennsylvania and Michigan.

“We’re planning to launch in the first half of this year, which basically means in the next couple of months,” Pazner said then.

Those who follow the industry closely, particularly in Michigan, are keen to bet the over on those kinds of estimates.

WSOP has already blown through the first half of 2021 without a lunch, though a summer start time could still be in the cards here.

Pazner said the brand, which has a partnership with 888 Poker, would enter the market through deals with William Hill and Caesars.

Caesars, William Hill deal proves crucial for MI poker

The Caesars purchase of William Hill, which was finalized earlier this year, turned into an important development for Michigan online poker.

That’s because, although Caesars originally wasn’t in Michigan’s online gambling square dance, William Hill had a partner.

The UK outfit teamed with the Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, operators of two Traverse City area casinos, for access here.

With Caesars acquiring William Hill, its WSOP brand had the connection it needed to go live within state borders.

MGCB reviewing interstate poker compacts

But what about outside of state borders?

As World Series of Poker readies for its Michigan launch, the Michigan Gaming Control Board continues to review interstate poker agreements.

According to Michigan law, the MGCB can enter into compacts to play poker across state lines with other states.

However, the federal level is where things get touchy.

Although the Wire Act saga is a closed case for now, that doesn’t mean compacts are firmly in the clear from a regulatory standpoint.

The MGCB could also be reviewing the details of the compact. The board has maintained all along that compacting is expected “later this year.”

The good news for Michigan poker players is they could have three platform options to play across state lines whenever these developments come to fruition.

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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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