Why Haven’t Interstate Poker And WSOP Launched In Michigan?

Written By Drew Ellis on November 14, 2021 - Last Updated on November 15, 2021

With each step forward for Michigan in the world of online gaming, a new waiting game seems to arrive. The current wait is for Michigan online poker to take part in interstate compacting, allowing Michiganders to play head-to-head against players in other states.

Although the finish line seems to be approaching, the exact time the state will cross it still is uncertain.

Though 2021 was often stated as the target, it appears that 2022 could be more of a reality.

What is interstate play?

Michigan legalized online poker play in 2019 and officially went live in January of this year.

However, Michigan residents are only able to play against other players in-state.

Interstate poker compacting allows for players in Michigan to compete against other players from states that are involved in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement.

Delaware first legalized online poker in 2012, with Nevada soon to follow. 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 states. In 2017, New Jersey became the third state to sign on to the MSIGA.

Hopes for Michigan poker compacting fading for 2021

Michigan became the sixth state to legalize online poker, joining Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Last December, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law legislation allowing multistate online poker compacts. That law would allow Michigan to join New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware in the MSIGA. Approval from all three other states is also required.

Earlier this year, former Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Richard Kalm and his successor, Henry Williams, both expressed hope that interstate play would be rolled out by the end of the year.

But that timeline now seems a little more unclear. Michigan is in a waiting game for approval from the other three states, according to David Murley, the Deputy Director of Online Gaming & Legal Affairs at the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

“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. “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.”

World Series of Poker still awaiting Michigan launch

Another step toward interstate play comes with World Series of Poker launching in Michigan.

Although Michigan already has PokerStars and BetMGM Poker available, WSOP is the only poker operator that currently uses the MSIGA.

Early discussion had WSOP launching in the state during the summer. However, the operator still finds itself without a launch date, and we are in mid-November.

WSOP has hit the ground running in the other states it has launched in. In New Jersey and Nevada, WSOP ran 33 Online Bracelet Series events from July 1-Aug. 1 and dished out more than $18.2 million in prizes.

WSOP Online Bracelet Series events are still scheduled until Nov. 21, leaving the possibility of Michigan taking part in one of these events increasingly unlikely.

888 Holdings PLC, which is the software behind WSOP, still hasn’t given a firm timetable for the launch.

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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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