The launch date for online gaming in Michigan may be announced any day with early next week being the longest that players in the Wolverine State will have to wait for word on when they will be able to place their first legal and regulated online casino and sports bets in the state.
During a meeting of the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) on Tuesday, Executive Director Richard Kalm stated, “We’re very close. I wish I could give an exact day and time, but each day that changes.”
Online casino games and sports betting are expected to be the first games available in Michigan. “Most operators will launch online gaming and sports betting simultaneously,” Kalm said. Online poker in Michigan is expected to lag behind the other games by “four to five days.”
Once a launch date is announced, it is expected that players will be able to place real money online wagers within a matter of days.
In the end, it will have taken just over a year from the time Governor Whitmer signed the Lawful Internet Gaming Act into law in late December 2019 for the MGCB to usher online gaming over the finish line.
As a point of comparison, it took gaming regulators in Pennsylvania more than 20 months to launch online gaming (2 years for online poker) while New Jersey online poker and casino games were launched just nine months after then Governor Chris Christie signed online gaming into law.
First Michigan Online Poker Rooms Expected
The first legal and regulated online poker rooms in Michigan are almost certainly to be familiar brands to poker players in the state. BetMGM MI in partnership the partypoker US Network is expected to be among the first group of online poker rooms to go live. We may also see partypoker MI and Borgata Poker in Michigan, both of which also are part of the partypoker US Network.
“Poker is core to BetMGM’s business and we’re as equally committed to bringing our superior poker offering to new states, as we are with our sports betting offering,” Director of Poker for BetMGM Ray Stefanelli told pokerfuse. “We’ll continue to work with regulators across the U.S. to widen access to online poker and look forward to a number of new states that will likely come online in 2021.”
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Another online poker room that is expected to be in the first wave of operators to go live is PokerStars MI. A representative of the company told pokerfuse, “we are working closely with the regulators and preparing to launch in Michigan soon.”
And though both partypoker and PokerStars both offer regulated online poker in other states, it is not likely that players in Michigan will be able to compete with players in other states for quite some time.
Shared Liquidity for Online Poker in Michigan
Despite the recent passage of a law that allows the MGCB to enter into agreements with other US states that offer legal regulated real money online poker to share liquidity, it will likely be months before combined player pools become a reality in Michigan.
A member of the public directed a question about when shared liquidity could be expected in Michigan towards Kalm during the meeting Tuesday. Kalm indicated that though talks with regulators in other states are already underway, it will likely be the end of 2021 before operators are allowed to combine their player pools with those in other states.
Ironically, the only regulated online poker network in the US to share its player pool across state lines in the All American Poker Network which hosts WSOP.com and 888poker, however, we are unlikely to see WSOP MI or 888poker MI anytime soon as neither has been granted a license in Michigan so far.