Last week, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) issued provisional licenses to 15 gaming platform providers moving one step closer to offering online gaming and sports betting in Michigan.
Among the 15 gaming platform providers that were given the nod by the state regulators, two companies stand out for the US online poker enthusiasts: BetMGM, LLC d/b/a Roar Digital and TSG Interactive US Services Limited d/b/a Fox Bet.
BetMGM working with Roar Digital offers online poker in New Jersey and is part of the partypoker US Network while TSG is the parent company of PokerStars that operates in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Both the companies are expected to offer online poker in Michigan with PokerStars likely to become the first room to go live in the Wolverine State.
Final Hurdles Remaining Before iGaming Can Go Live in Michigan
We don’t know whether poker will be among the games offered at initial launch,” MGCB spokesperson Mary Kay Bean told pokerfuse. “It will depend on an operator’s readiness to offer poker and their desire to do so.However, before operators can begin offering igaming in the state, there are a few regulatory requirements that must be completed. This includes testing of platforms and games by an independent test laboratory as well as by MGCB to ensure game integrity. In addition, the operators must obtain occupational licenses for certain employees.
This process could take four to six weeks and is very likely to extend beyond the holidays into the new year.
Furthermore, state casinos (both commercial and tribal) working with the gaming platforms must receive the operator’s license. As of now, none of the three Detroit commercial casinos or the state’s tribal casinos have been given green light.
PokerStars’ parent company, The Stars Group (TSG) – now called Flutter, has secured a partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority, gaining first skin market access for real-money online poker, casino games and sports betting in Michigan.
BetMGM/Roar Digital has a natural partnership with MGM Resorts which owns the MGM Grand Detroit.
When asked whether BetMGM could offer online poker in the state, Mary Kay Bean, the communications specialist for MGCB, told pokerfuse that MGM Grand Detroit “must receive an operator’s license before BetMGM can offer any form of internet gaming.”
Online Poker Not Likely to be Part of Initial iGaming Launch in Michigan
Just as we saw in Pennsylvania, igaming is unlikely to see online poker as part of the initial launch that is expected to take place in early 2021.
Online casino and online sports betting will be the first verticals to go live. In fact, a few of these approved gaming platform providers are already offering a preregistration bonuses for online casino and online sports betting including BetMGM.
The MGCB has allowed approved operators and platform providers to make their mobile apps available for download prior to launch, but wagers cannot be placed until the state regulator grants final approval.
However, no such offer is available for the online poker vertical by BetMGM (neither BetMGM MI nor partypoker MI have a preregistration offer at the time of writing) indicating that online poker is unlikely to go live in the initial igaming launch. Partypoker MI
There is also no word of a PokerStars MI preregistration launch which further asserts the notion that online poker in Michigan will lag other igaming.
“We don’t know whether poker will be among the games offered at initial launch,” Bean continued. “It will depend on an operator’s readiness to offer poker and their desire to do so.”
“The games must be evaluated by independent testing labs and our own gaming lab and approved by the MGCB prior to being deployed,” Bean added.
Provisional Licenses Issued to Michigan Online Gaming Platform Providers
- American Wagering, Inc. d/b/a William Hill Sports Book
- Betfair Interactive US LLC d/b/a FanDuel Sportsbook
- BetMGM, LLC d/b/a Roar Digital
- Churchill Downs Interactive Gaming, LLC d/b/a TwinSpires
- Crown MI Gaming LLC d/b/a DraftKings
- GAN Nevada Inc.
- Golden Nugget Online Gaming, Inc.
- NYX Digital Gaming (USA), LLC
- Parx Interactive Inc.
- Penn Sports Interactive, LLC
- PointsBet Michigan LLC
- Rush Street Interactive MI, LLC
- Sports Information Services Limited d/b/a Kambi
- TSG Interactive US Services Limited d/b/a Fox Bet
- WSI US, LLC d/b/a Wynn Sports