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Online poker finally went live in Michigan on January 29, 2021. The first site to offer online poker games in the state was PokerStars MI, which received all the necessary clearances from the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Two months later, this was followed up the second market entrant, BetMGM MI Poker, which launched on March 22, 2021.

The law legalizing online gambling and sports betting in Michigan was passed back in December of 2019, but it took a full year before first sites were ready to start accepting players.

The twelve odd months were spent figuring out all the details of licensing and setting up rules for the operators for the future. It was a fairly long wait, but residents of Michigan can now play online poker in a legal and regulated environment.

Best Online Poker Sites in Michigan
PokerStars MIOur rating: 4.6
BetMGM Poker MIOur rating: 4.4
WSOP MIComing soon

Online Poker Operators in Michigan

As of March 2021, there are two online poker sites in Michigan, PokerStars Michigan and BetMGM Michigan Poker. The first room went live in late January of 2021; BetMGM followed two months later.

It made Michigan the third US state where PokerStars has a presence. The other two are PokerStars NJ and PokerStars PA. BetMGM, through its partner partypoker, is also live in New Jersey.

PokerStars Michigan offers cash games, sit and go tournaments, and MTTs, so players can find a wealth of options across different stakes. To celebrate the launch in the new market in style, PokerStars organized the Michigan Championship of Online Poker (MICOOP), and the series was a resounding success.

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BetMGM came to market with a very strong offer of its own. Its signup bonus is best-in-class—offering $25 in cash to play with on cash games and tournaments, no deposit required; and then when you do make a deposit it will be matched up to $600. It is also pushing the boat out with a big invitational freeroll and there’s hint of a big first tournament series coming soon.

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Other sites are certainly expected to join the fray. This includes two more under the partypoker US Network partnerhip, partypoker and Borgata, plus an entry from WSOP/888.

  • Partypoker Michigan
  • Borgata Michigan
  • WSOP.com MI

However, there is no definitive timeframe for this as of yet.

MI Online Poker Laws and Regulation

In Michigan, much in like other regulated states, all poker operators have to adhere to strict laws and regulations in terms of who can play on their site and under what circumstances.

The first and the most important point is that MI online poker is available to only those of 21 years or older. All players are required to provide their SSN and relevant documents to confirm their age and identity.

You can register and start playing by providing your personal information like name, surname, DoB, address, and SSN. The software will cross-reference this information with the national database, and if everything checks out, you will be able to play.

However, when the time comes to request your first withdrawal, you will also need to provide a photo of your government-issued ID. This is a one-time process and if everything checks out, you will be able to deposit and withdraw in the future without any further complications.

Geolocation Checks and Procedures in Michigan

At this point in time, all players who want to play on any Michigan online poker sites need to be physically present in the state. You will need to be within MI borders.

The system does not work on the trust basis, i.e. you confirming you are in the state. Instead, there is geolocation software that you will have to allow to access your device to check your IP and other information. Only if the software can verify your physical presence in the state will you be able to play.

It is very hard to fool this system, and even if you are able to do it, it is not recommended. If any player is discovered to have played from an area outside of Michigan, they will have their funds confiscated, and they could potentially face even more serious ramifications.

It is important to note that you only have to be physically present in Michigan to actually place real money wagers or bets of any kind (poker, casino, sports). You can register for an account and verify your identity from any US state as long as the operator allows it. As far as laws are concerned, players only have to be in MI when actively playing real money games or tournaments.

How to Download Poker Software and Apps in Michigan

Provided you meet the above criterion, i.e. you are physically within MI state borders, you should have no problems downloading the relevant software to your device. For the most part, the procedure does not differ from that of downloading any software.

First of all, visit the website of the operator you want to play with. For the time being, PokerStars is the only option, but that will change in the future.

If you are playing from a desktop computer, find the download link or button on the site, click on it, and follow the procedure. Usually, it will only take a few clicks and a couple of minutes before the platform is up and running on your device.

For those wanting to play on their phones, you will need to download the relevant app, i.e. Android or iOS.

For iOS apps, you will simply visit the App Store and download the app from there. The entire process is just as easy as downloading any other app. Since you are taking the app from a trusted source, there will be no problems along the way.

Michigan players using Android devices might need to take an extra step or two. Most online poker apps are still not allowed on Google Play, though that is slowly changing, and Google is slowly accepting some regulated real money poker sites ont othe store. Check out the operator page and see if they direct you to the store, or to direct download.

This simply means you will have to allow files from unknown locations when prompted by your phone. After a few seconds, you will download the .apk file. Run it, let the installation process complete, and you will be good to go.

Once you have downloaded the software, if you have not completed the registration before, you will be able do to it from the platform or app interface. It is important to note that you will not be able to access any functionalities of the software before you are fully registered and logged in.

Online Poker MI Sites: Safety and Fairness

The biggest thing setting regulated US operators apart from unlicensed offshore sites is the fact the former are fully licensed and operate under a very strict set of laws.

To make sure you are actually playing on a regulated site in Michigan, scroll down to the bottom of the page and look for the logo of the Michigan Gaming Control Board MGCB logo. If the site is licensed, they will clearly display the logo so that players know they are on a safe and regulated platform.

Of course, it is easy enough for anyone to slap any logo they want on their site. If you have any doubts, visit the MGCB official site and check out the licensing information. Type in the name of the operator you want to check and, if they are licensed, they will appear in the search results.

One of the most important requirements set forth by the MGCB is that all licensed operators must maintain a money reserve at all times in the amount that is enough to secure all the funds in the players’ accounts. Although this is technically not the same thing as segregated funds, it achieves the same purpose.

All players’ balances are covered at all times using one of several methods (cash, letter of credit, bond), so whatever happens, your money is safe.

If you feel like an operator has done something to violate your rights as the player or has not treated you fairly, you have a right to lodge a complaint. However, it is very important to follow the procedure here.

The first point of action is filing a written complaint with the operator. The operator must provide you with a written answer within 10 days. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you can proceed to pursue the matter with the MGCB.

You can submit your complaint via an online form, but the MGCB will require you to include the answer you received from the operator. They will not take any action until you had first tried to resolve your issue with the casino directly. If the player and the operator cannot come to a resolution, the MGCB will get involved and make the final decision.

Banking Options for Online Poker in Michigan

Online poker players in Michigan have access to a fair number of banking options. The most important thing is that all of these methods are completely safe and reliable, so you don’t have to worry about your personal information getting into wrong hands or your money not reaching its intended destination.

As for the available options, this is one of those things that always change and develop, so if you do not see an option that works for you, this does not mean that it will not be added at some point in the future.

Online gambling in general is still quite fresh in the state, so operators are working out the quirks to add more deposit and withdrawal options all the time.

When it comes to banking, more is almost always better, as the more options there are, the easier it gets for everyone to fund their poker account in the most suitable and convenient manner.

As of right now, MI poker sites support options like:

  • Major credit and debit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Amex)
  • E-wallets (NETELLER, PayPal, etc.)
  • Wire transfers
  • ACH / e-checks
  • Prepaid cards like Paysafecard

It is also likely that PokerStars MI , BetMGM MI, as well as other operators that join the market will enable deposits and withdrawals at their land-based base of operations. This is a very convenient and safe method if you happen to live nearby the casino or visit the area often.

Like with other states, credit and debit cards probably should not be your first choice. While these are a perfectly legal option on any regulated poker sites in Michigan, it seems that banks are slow to get the memo.

Many financial institutions in the US still block transactions to gambling sites, even the licensed ones. This should change in the future, but for the time being, if you have other options you can use, try them first. Credit cards are also not the best option as they only work one way – you can deposit with them, but you will need to use a different method to cash out.

Expectations for Interstate Shared Liquidity in Michigan

One thing that both players and operators in the States are looking forward to is regulated poker sites combining their liquidity, bringing together player pools from different states. At this point in time, only New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware have such an agreement.

Any efforts to combine player pools have been put on hold with the new interpretation of the Wire Act brought forth by the Department of Justice. According to it, online poker falls under the Act provisions, which means that games cannot cross state borders.

There is an ongoing legal battle to restore the previous interpretation of the document, which was created specifically to prevent interstate sports betting via telephone lines. The fate of combined player pools depends on the outcome of this battle.

The latest, and possibly the final development in the Wire Act saga, at least for the foreseeable future, happened in January of 2020. The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that the Act only applies to sports betting (which was its original intention in 1961) and rejected the DoJ interpretation that it should be applied to other forms of online gambling, including online poker.

The Department of Justice did not take the opportunity to appeal the court decision, which indicates that the new administration is no longer interested in pursuing the matter.

The court decision means that creating interstate compacts, such as the one between New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada is no longer outside of the legal boundaries. Thus, in the months and years to come, we will probably see a growing number of these agreements, especially as more states regulate online poker. However, before that happens, state regulators are asking for more clarity from the DOJ.

As far as Michigan is concerned, everything is ready for interstate agreements and now the main obstacle has been removed, there should be some developments in this area. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed SB 91 bill into law on December 29, 2020, paving the way for future interstate agreements.

If we were to venture a guess, PokerStars will probably be the first one to seize the opportunity and create an interstate network with New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This would make the US branch of PokerStars one of the largest online poker networks on the global scale, with the player pool similar to that of the ROW operators like iPoker, partypoker, and 888.

BetMGM is also well positioned here, with a strong presence in New Jersey with its three brands there all sharing liquidity. With plans to add more brands in Michigan and expand into Pennsylvania, it could certainly give PokerStars a run for its money.

Things are looking good for the future right now as it seems the Wire Act saga has run its course. With the new administration in place in the US, it is highly likely that the DoJ will give this matter a rest and will not even try to take it to the Supreme Court.

Land-based Casinos, Poker Rooms, and Sportsbooks in Michigan

Those who do not like playing online or simply love to have some options, Michigan is the state to be in. There is no shortage of live options for poker, casino gambling, or sports betting. These are top legal venues operating in the state.

MGM Grand Detroit

BetMGM Grand Detroit is a premier destination in Michigan for all players looking any type of gambling entertainment.

The poker room features 17 tables and offers No Limit and Limit Hold’em as well as Pot Limit Omaha cash games and tournaments. Players get to enjoy promotions such as bad beat jackpots, splash pots, and much more.

The casino section features a wide array of video slots alongside table games like craps, blackjack, roulette, Let It Ride, Three Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Mississippi Stud, Four Card Poker, Two-Way Monte, etc.

Finally, the BetMGM Sports Lounge lets you place bets on your favorite teams and enjoy games in a modern and comfortable setting that every sports fan will enjoy.

Bay Mills Resort & Casino

Located in Brimley, Michigan, Bay Mills Resort & Casino offers poker, slots, table games, and sports betting.

The poker room is relatively small and offers only a few tables with cash games and occasional lower buy-in tournaments. On the bright side, players only need to be 18 years or older instead of 21.

The casino area of Bay Mills features roulette, craps, blackjack, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Let It Ride, and 3 Card Poker. Fans of slots and video poker will find more than 900 different machines to choose from.

Sports betting is not available in person. You will need to download a mobile app provided by Draft Kings to start placing your wagers.

Greektown Casino

Another gambling venue located in Detroit, Greektown Casino offers a high quality gaming experience across the board.

The poker room operates seven days a week, from 10 am to 4 am, offering a wide variety of cash games and tournaments. Games being spread across a dozen tables are Texas Hold’em and Omaha.

The casino hosts nearly 3000 video poker machines and slots and offers all the popular table games like different blackjack variations, baccarat, craps, roulette, Mississippi Stud, Pai Gow, Four Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, and Let It Ride.

The high-tech sportsbook features 40 betting kiosks, 25 HD televisions, and a large screen where players can keep up with their favorite teams and events. The choice of betting options and markets is very solid as well, as bettors can place their single bets, parlays, prop bets, futures, and much more on sports like tennis, basketball, football, hockey, soccer, boxing, baseball, cycling, golf, and much more.

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort

Soaring Eagle Casino is located in Mount Pleasant and offers a great variety of gaming and entertainment options for visitors.

At the time of writing, their poker room is temporarily closed due to COVID-19, but when fully operational it features 14 tables and spreads a great number of variations such as Hold’em, Omaha, Crazy Pineapple, Razz, and Seven Card Stud.

For slots’ fans, there is great number of machines, including some very fresh cabinets and popular progressive jackpots. The table games’ are offers blackjack, roulette, craps, 3 Card Poker, and much more.

At this moment, Soaring Eagle Casino still does not have an operational sportsbook. The venue had plans to launch a sportsbook at the start of 2021, but it seems these plans have been at least temporarily delayed. It is likely that a sports betting area will be added to the gaming floor at some point in 2021.

FireKeepers Casino Hotel

FireKeepers Casino and Hotel in Battle Creek offers poker, table games, slots, bingo, and sportsbook, catering to everyone’s needs and wants.

The poker room spreads Texas Hold’em, Omaha, and Seven Card Stud. Cash games run around the clock, while the casino also hosts a number of tournaments, including several Mid-States Poker Tour events taking place every year.

There are many slots and video poker machines to choose from. Players can try their luck playing for small stakes or bet big in the high limit area. As for the table games, FireKeepers Casino offers baccarat, roulette, blackjack, Three Card Poker, Let It Ride, Mississippi Stud, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, and Crazy 4 Poker.

Sports bettors can do their thing at Dacey’s Sportsbook. There are three live wagering windows in the area and multiple self-serving kiosks.

MotorCity Casino

Located in Detroit, MotorCity Casino offers a variety of gaming options as well as hotel rooms, fine dining, and everything else guests could possibly need for an enjoyable stay.

Their poker room operates around the clock and offers Omaha and Texas Hold’em games. The casino features a nice selection of weekly tournaments, including regular bounty events. There is also the bad beat jackpot for Omaha and Hold’em cash games.

Players will find a colorful selection of video slots that includes classic titles and new machines. The minimum bet on many of these is just $0.01, while the maximum stake you can find is $100. Table games on offer include several blackjack and roulette variations, baccarat, Three Card Poker, Casino War, Pai Gow, Criss Cross Poker, etc.

MotorCity Casino also offers a two-story sportsbook operating around the clock. With six betting windows and more than 50 self-serving kiosks, players will never struggle to place their desired wager in time.

Gun Lake Casino

Gun Lake Casino in Wayland, Michigan, is a tribal casino featuring a poker room, a large gaming area, and a standalone sportsbook to boot.

When fully operational, the poker room at Gun Lake Casino features 14 tables and offers cash games and regular low buy-in tournaments. Available games are Hold’em and Omaha.

There are over 2000 slot machines to choose from for the fans of electronic entertainment, while those who prefer to try their luck against live dealers will find games such as roulette, Three Card Poker, Mississippi Stud, blackjack, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Four Card Poker, etc.

Stage 131 Sportsbook & Lounge situated at the venue offers a variety of betting options and a pleasant atmosphere where guests can relax with a drink, watch multiple games at the same time, and cheer on their favorites to victory.

Online Poker in Michigan FAQ

Is online poker legal in Michigan?

Yes, online poker has been legalized in Michigan with the passage of the internet gambling bill back in December of 2019. It took over a year for the first operators to actually launch and start accepting players from the state, but as long as you are playing with one of the sites licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, you have nothing to worry about in terms of legality.

What options do I have to play poker online in MI?

PokerStars MI was the first option for those who were eager to play online poker from the state and remains the leading operator in Michigan for the time being.

BetMGM MI Poker joined the market a few months later, offering an alternative to PokerStars. Although the room does not offer as many options, players will still find the most popular variations such as Hold’em, Omaha, and Stud games, offered across cash games and tournaments.

Do I have to be physically present in the state to play online?

Yes, all players *have to be physical presen*t within Michigan state borders to legally play online poker for real money.

All licensed operators use geolocation software solutions to make sure all of their active players comply with this requirement at all times. Whether you play from a desktop computer, laptop, or a mobile device, you will only be able to access MI poker sites if you are actually in Michigan.

Does Michigan share player pools with other states?

At this moment, Michigan operators do not share liquidity with other states. Although the state has passed the law allowing for such compacts, everybody is waiting to see what will happen with the Wire Act interpretation on the federal level.

If it is decided that the Wire Act does not apply to online poker, Michigan is in a prime position to create joint player pools with other regulated states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Operators like PokerStars would probably jump at the opportunity as this would allow them to significantly bolster their player traffic across the network.

How can I be sure licensed MI online poker sites are safe?

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) is in charge of vetting and licensing online poker operators in the state. To receive a license, the operator needs to meet a series of conditions that guarantee the safety of the players and their funds as well as fairness of the games on offer.

Unlike offshore sites catering to US players, these licensed operators are responsible to the MGCB. If there are any problems or disputes, the Board will act as an intermediary and will consider any player complaints to determine if any rules or procedures were broken.

You will easily recognized licensed operators in the state as they will always display the MGCB license seal on the site, usually at the very bottom. You can always double-check this information by visiting the MGCB site and looking for the particular operator to see if they have a valid license.

What deposit and withdrawal options do MI players have at their disposal?

Those looking to play online poker in Michigan have a variety of deposit and withdrawal options at their disposal. These include credit and debit cards, wire transfers, e-wallets like PayPal and NETELLER, some prepaid cards, ACH, etc.

Different operators offer different banking options. Although a majority of them will support almost all main methods, you can always check their website or contact their support team to verify if a particular option you want to use is supported.

Can I play online poker in Michigan from my phone?

There is absolutely nothing stopping licensed operators in MI from offering mobile poker apps for their players. So, the general answer to this question is, yes, you can.

Of course, the quality of your mobile experience will depend primarily on the site you choose and how much effort they put into building an app.

PokerStars, for example, offers a top-quality mobile solution for Android and iOS users alike. This is one of the best poker apps you can find, not just in Michigan, but worldwide.

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