Roar Digital, the US online gaming and online sports betting company representing the interests of MGM Resorts International and partypoker parent company Entain, has announced that it will be launching online poker in Michigan this month.
Under the BetMGM USA brand, the company launched online casino games and online sports betting in Michigan on January 22 of this year. Its license to offer online gaming in the state also includes online poker.
Roar will use the BetMGM Poker brand for online poker in Michigan. The company manages several online poker brands in New Jersey including partypoker NJ, Borgata Poker, and BetMGM Poker. All of its brands in New Jersey pool their liquidity together on the partypoker US Network.
BetMGM is already live with a regulated online casino and sports betting in Michigan. Existing players verified at BetMGM Casino or BetMGM Sports will be ready to go to play on BetMGM Poker MI when it launches in the coming weeks.
Online Poker in Michigan Growing Fast
PokerStars MI became the first online poker room to launch in Michigan on January 29, 2021, just one week after the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) authorized the grand opening of online casinos and online sportsbooks.
To say that online poker has proven popular in Michigan would be an understatement.
According to the latest cash game traffic data, seen exclusively by pokerfuse, PokerStars.MI is already the largest regulated real money online poker room in the US. Traffic at the newly launch site also exceeds the only interstate online poker network in the US, which includes WSOP NJ, WSOP NV, 888poker NJ and the three racinos in Delaware.
PokerStars MI has even managed to exceed the traffic of its sister site in Pennsylvania, PokerStars PA, despite the fact that the Keystone State has a population of nearly 3 million more than that of Michigan.
In fact, the traffic levels seen in Michigan so far represent the highest traffic levels observed at an online poker room in any US regulated market ever.
Figures tracked by GameIntel, and licensed exclusively by pokerfuse’s Poker Industry PRO, show PokerStars Michigan has averaged 410 concurrent cash game players over the last week.
That figure just exceeds that of PokerStars PA with an average of 405 concurrent cash game seats filled and is significantly greater than PokerStars NJ where the average is just 140 concurrent cash game seats filled. The WSOP/888 US Network with its six online poker rooms spread across three states averages just 275 cash games seats filled.
Later in the year, the lines between the states will continue to blur as interstate online poker is expected to expand. Michigan already has a law on the books that allows its gaming regulators to authorize online poker rooms in Michigan to combine their player pools with those in other regulated US states.
Furthermore, a decision in the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on the Wire Act handed down last month has cleared the way for state gaming regulators to authorize shared liquidity for their online poker operators without the worry of violating federal law.
BetMGM May Debut in Pennsylvania Soon
In addition to its launch in Michigan, BetMGM is also preparing to take the partypoker US Network to Pennsylvania. Roar and BetMGM were approved to offer online gaming (including online poker and casino games) and online sports betting by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) in October of last year.
And while the company has successfully launched an online casino and an online sportsbook in the state, it has yet to go live with online poker.
However, as the prospect of shared liquidity across US states where online poker is legal and regulated begins to become a reality, expect more online poker rooms to launch in Pennsylvania and in West Virginia where online poker is legal but no operator has launched presumably due to the relatively small population of the state.
Even international online poker operators that currently do not have a presences in the US are eyeing the US market as an opportunity. On Wednesday, NSUS Group, the parent company of GGPoker, the fastest growing online poker room in the world, is expected to be approved by the PGCB to offer online poker in the state.
Despite the expected approval, the debut of GGPoker PA is not expected soon, as the state gaming regulator has told pokerfuse that a test launch has not yet been scheduled.