UPDATE: As of Tuesday, JCAR has waived the remaining session days for both the proposed rules for internet gaming and internet sports betting which allows for a launch later this month.
Online poker and other online gaming including casino games and sports betting could still be offered in the state of Michigan this year.
The process of launching online gaming in the state started when Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of bills into law last December that expanded gaming in the state to include online poker, MI online casino, sports betting and fantasy sports contests.
And though the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) made it a priority to launch internet gaming in the state this year, the process has been in a holding pattern since October 8 when the MGCB submitted the regulations to The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) for approval.
Under procedural rules, the regulations must be approved by JCAR before the MGCB can even begin issuing online gaming and online sports betting licenses.
However, internet gaming regulations are expected to be considered and “effectively” approved by JCAR on Tuesday, according to comments made to The Associated Press by JCAR chairperson, Senator Peter Lucido.
“Everybody wants to get this thing going,” Lucido told The Associated Press. “This is something that’s long overdue at this point. It’s being done in other states. We’re losing opportunity costs.”
JCAR has 15 session days from the day that they were submitted to take action on the regulations (including objecting to the rules and proposing changes), however, if JCAR does not take action in the required number of days, the “rules may be filed with the Secretary of State and become law,” according to the JCAR website.
Session Days are defined as days when both the House of Representatives and the Senate have “convened and recorded a quorum.” So far, only three sessions days have been recorded since the regulations were submitted on October 8, but the Department of Treasury has requested that JCAR waive the remaining session days, effectively allowing the rules to stand as submitted.
Whether JCAR approves the internet gaming regulations or waives the remaining days and allows them to be submitted to the Secretary of State, the MGCB believes it still may have enough time to launch online gaming this year.
“If we hear the waiver request was approved by JCAR, we are hopeful that online gaming and sports betting can start this year,” Mary Kay Bean, spokesperson for the MGCB, told The Associated Press.
Michigan Online Poker Rooms Expected at Launch
This summer, the MGCB strongly encouraged Online Gaming Suppliers that desired to be a part of a coordinated initial launch to submit their applications by August 14, even though it could not guarantee all applicants received by that date would be approved in time for launch.
The two companies that made that deadline and are the most likely to have an online poker product approved for the initial launch are TSG Interactive US Services Limited and BETMGM, LLC (Roar Digital) which are expected to launch PokerStars MI and partypoker MI respectively.
Notably, neither Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE), parent company of the World Series of Poker and its online poker brand WSOP.com, nor 888 Holdings, the gaming company that currently provides the online poker software platform for WSOP.com, have applications pending with the MGCB, calling into question whether WSOP MI or 888 MI will be part of the initial online gaming launch in Michigan.