Work Begins on Interstate Poker in Michigan
Since the Michigan online casino industry launched in January, there has been little to complain about from either bettors or operators.
There is one major area that still needs some work, and that is the interstate poker agreement.
Currently, all online poker is offered by companies that have intrastate licenses. BetMGM and PokerStars are two of the leaders in Michigan, but there is a chance for an even bigger revenue boost.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board is exploring interstate poker, and this is not the first time that this has been brought up. With interstate poker, bettors from the state would be able to compete in poker tournaments with other states that have similar agreements.
The MGCB is now under new leadership as Henry Williams will take over the role as executive director. One of his first big assignments will be to review this interstate poker agreement and determine if this is something that the state wants to pursue.
Lawmakers have already agreed to allow interstate poker in Michigan, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed off on it as well. It’s now up to the MGCB to negotiate compacts with other states, and this could be a difficult process.
Currently, Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada have an interstate poker compact in place. Michigan and Pennsylvania have been asked to join that compact, but there are several regulatory approvals that will have to take place.
The MGCB has warned that this process could take longer than most poker players in Michigan are hoping for, but there is optimism that a deal gets done by the end of the year. This would be a huge boost to the online casino industry in the state and would help the US iGaming industry as well.
WSOP Waiting to Launch
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has made it clear that it intends to launch in Michigan, but interstate poker must first be allowed. Pennsylvania is another major target of WSOP, but similar hurdles remain.
The World Series of Poker is a product of Caesars Entertainment, and there is a clear path into the state of Michigan. Caesars just recently purchased William Hill, a company that already holds a license in the state.
William Hill operates MI sports betting and casino gaming through a deal with the Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Those operations will be rebranded under the Caesars name, but there won’t be much of a change in terms of functionality.
WSOP is the only online operator that currently offers interstate gaming, and it is always looking to launch in new states. The entire Michigan iGaming industry would see a huge boost from WSOP entering the market.
BetMGM and PokerStars would be able to apply for an interstate gaming license through the state of Michigan, and they would also be looking to take advantage of this agreement. The state has already proven to be a strong and growing online casino industry, and it would attract additional big-name operators as well.
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