Poker news | Mar 02, 2021
Michigan to Feature Interstate Online Poker
By RTR Dennis
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has approved legislation that will pave the way for Michigan to join interstate poker compacts. The Wolverine State can now potentially link up with Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada, which are in a compact together.
State Sen. Curtis Hertel introduced SB 991 in June 2020. This bill quickly gained attention in the state legislature and picked up steam as more online poker operators obtained Michigan licenses.
It easily passed both state houses. The Senate approved the legislation with a 36-1 vote in October. From here, the House passed SB 991 by an 85-16 margin in December. Whitmer promptly signed the bill when it reached her desk on Dec. 29.
SB 991 Won’t Kick In Right Away
Michigan is now set to link up with other states that offer online poker. However, it won’t be able to do so immediately.
It still needs to wait 90 days after iPoker officially launches in the state. Michigan internet poker isn’t expected to go live until late 2021.
Therefore, the Wolverine State won’t be able to share players with another state until early 2022. The governor would likely need more time to work out a compact with another state afterward too. This aspect could push interstate poker to mid-2022 or later.
What Does SB 991 Mean for US Online Poker?
The American iPoker market has started off slowly. Currently, only six of the 50 states feature legal online poker. Aside from Michigan, Delaware, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia have all approved the game. West Virginia still hasn’t launched any poker sites to date.
However, these three states only have a combined population of just over 12.9 million people. Despite the liquidity agreement, they haven’t exactly seen their online poker markets boom.
More large states are needed to build better liquidity. A market of 12.9 million might be enough to get some low-stakes cash games and tournaments happening. But it’s not going to generate any huge tourneys or high-stakes play.
Michigan could certainly help improve this situation. The Wolverine State has 9.9 million residents, which would significantly boost the DE/NJ/NV market.
Pennsylvania would be another boon to this prospective compact. It could add a fifth state (counting Michigan) and another 12.8 million people to the pool.
Of course, this speculation is getting ahead of the matter. Michigan needs to successfully launch its poker sites first. Politicians may wait for a while before rushing to join a compact.