The state of Michigan legalized online poker in December 2019 when Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of bills into law including the Lawful Internet Gaming Act.

The first online poker room in Michigan (PokerStars Michigan) launched on January 29, 2021.

With a population estimated at just over 10 million, Michigan is the second-largest US state to offer regulated online poker.

Currently, online poker is live in four other states: Nevada (3 million population), Delaware (under 1 million), New Jersey (under 9 million), and Pennsylvania (around 13 million).

Michigan became the fifth state to launch online poker. West Virginia also legalized online poker in 2019 but has yet to launch an online poker room.

Where Can I Play Online Poker in Michigan?

Currently there is only one online poker room in Michigan: PokerStars Michigan.

You can download the PokerStars MI software and sign up for an account here.

As a Welcome Bonus, PokerStars is offering $30 worth of free play when you make your first deposit of $20 or more and use the Bonus Code ‘FREE30’. $20 will be credited to your account in the form of a cash bonus and you will receive the remaining $10 in Spin & Go tickets.

PokerStars is also offering a 100% First Deposit Match Bonus up to $600. Just use Bonus Code STARS600 on your first deposit ($10 minimum) to claim the bonus. Your first three deposits within 60 days qualify for this promotion.

Which online poker rooms are expected to be available in Michigan?

PokerStars Michigan launched in the state on January 29, 2021, and other online poker rooms are expected to follow soon.

BetMGM will likely be the next operator to launch online poker in Michigan, as it received a provisional license from the Michigan Gaming Control Board late in December 2020. The company is expected to offer multiple brands in the state including BetMGM MI, partypoker MI and Borgata Poker.

All brands will operate on the partypoker US Network, however, the Michigan portion of the network will remain segregated from the New Jersey segment until the MGCB authorizes its online poker operators to share liquidity with their online poker rooms in other US states.

In July, the MGCB issued a notice to potential applicants that desired to be a part of a coordinated initial launch to submit their applications to the board with a deadline of August 14.

Nearly 50 applications were sent to the state regulators, a majority of them showing interest in both internet gaming (poker and casino) and internet sports betting.

Notably missing from the list of applicants is WSOP.com and 888 Holdings. Neither of the two operators has their applications pending with the MGCB, raising doubt whether WSOP MI or 888 MI will be part of the initial online gaming launch in Michigan. However, given their presence in other US states, it is very likely they will offer online poker to customers at some point in the near future.

Is online poker legal in Michigan?

Yes, online poker is legal in Michigan. In December 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bill HB 4311, the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, into law legalizing online poker along with online casino, sports betting and fantasy sports contests.

It became the sixth state in the US to legalize online poker following Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Players must be 21 years or older to play at a regulated online poker room in Michigan.

How did online poker get legalized in Michigan?

On December 1, the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) waived the 15-day waiting period to approve state regulations, allowing them to be submitted to the Secretary of State for approval.

Following that crucial administrative step, the MCGB believed that it could still launch igaming before the end of 2020, but just days later, MCGB Executive Director, Richard Kalm, estimated that the launch of online gaming in the state was still at least six weeks off.

Later in December 2020, the MGCB completed another required procedural step when it issued provisional licenses to 15 gaming platform providers.

It is notable that neither WSOP.com nor 888 were among those to submit applications to the MGCB in time to be considered for the initial launch.

Will Michigan Online Poker Players be Able to Play with Players in Other US States Where Online Poker is Legal?

In mid-December, the Michigan House of Representatives followed the example of the Michigan Senate and approved SB 991 – legislation that will grant the MGCB the power to enter into an agreement with other jurisdictions within the US for the purpose of allowing cross-border liquidity sharing in online poker once the market goes live.

The bill is currently with Governor Gretchen Whitmer who is expected to sign it into law in the opening days of 2021.

However, at the time of launch, online poker in Michigan is ring-fenced, meaning players will only be able to compete with players within the state.

A measure to give the law immediate effect was defeated, meaning that it will be at least 90 days before shared liquidity with Michigan is eligible to become a reality.

Are Online Gaming Operators Required to Partner with Land-Based Casinos in Michigan to Offer Online Gambling?

Yes, just like in other US states, online gambling in Michigan will only be permitted through partnerships with land-based Michigan casinos.

Who Regulates and Licenses Online Gaming in Michigan?

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) is overseeing the licensing applications for internet gaming and internet sports betting suppliers and vendors and is in the process of drafting regulations and issuing licenses.

Have the Online Poker Rooms Partnered with Land-Based Michigan Casinos?

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.

partypoker’s parent company (GVC) has a partnership with MGM Resorts which owns the MGM Grand Detroit.

Do Michigan players have to pay taxes on their online poker winnings?

Poker does not enjoy a special status in Michigan. It is regarded the same as sports betting or casino gambling. Thus, players do have to pay taxes on their online poker winnings.

Any tournament wins exceeding $5000 will be automatically reported and taxed by the operator. However, players are supposed to pay taxes on all of their winnings, regardless of the amount. For winnings under $5000, players need to report and pay the federal tax themselves.

The state tax is not withheld by the operators regardless of the amount so players need to take care of this bit themselves.

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