Multi-State Poker Agreement Signed In Michigan, But Work Remains

State's poker websites still have hoops to hop through before MGCB gives final OK
almost there
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Michigan poker players are one step closer to seeing their table grow by about 13 million people.

On Monday, Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Henry Williams signed the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, which will allow poker enthusiasts in the state to compete against players in New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada.

“I am happy to announce Michigan has joined the multi-state poker compact, and much of the increased tax revenue from multi-state poker will go to support K-12 education in Michigan,” Williams said by way of press release. “By joining, Michigan will almost double the potential pool of participants in multi-state poker games.”

In December 2020, the Michigan Legislature passed a bill that would allow the MGCB to join a multi-state poker compact. (The original bill legalizing internet gaming did not have a provision for interstate play.) Sponsored by Sen. Curtis Hertel, the 2020 bill was signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer later that same month, and the state was accepted into the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement this past April by the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association.

“Michigan poker players will enjoy more options and will likely play for bigger money when they can compete against players from other states,” said Sen. Hertel in the release. “I am glad we were able to make this possible for Michigan poker players.”

Don’t deal just yet

While Williams has signed off on the deal, the MGCB issued guidance to the state’s poker websites back in April on what they have to do to get the final seal of approval to go live with multi-state action. According to the press release, this includes:

  • Meet all conditions and requirements established in the multi-jurisdictional agreement and conduct multi-state poker involving only the jurisdictions in the agreement.
  • Gain approval for new platforms or platform modifications, new remote gaming systems, and new game software.
  • Technical security standards information plus review and inspection are required for a new data center, and the agency must give written approval for servers capable of receiving wagers located outside of Michigan.
  • Any new suppliers used in connection with multi-state poker must obtain internet gaming supplier licenses, including new platform providers, and new vendors may be required to register with the MGCB.
  • New operator or platform provider employees involved in the conduct of multi-state poker may need to obtain occupational licenses from the MGCB.

“The operators still have work to do before Michigan residents may join multi-state poker games,” Williams said. “The MGCB must make sure Michigan residents are protected when they play multi-state poker, and we will apply the same rigor to review of the new offering as we have other internet games.”

As to when interstate play will actually launch in Michigan, that may depend on the other three states involved in the pact.

“Launch will not occur immediately because operators and platform providers must meet MGCB requirements before multi-state poker can begin,” said Mary Kay Bean, spokesperson for the MGCB. “Operators and platform providers likely will have to meet requirements and obtain approvals in other jurisdictions before launching multi-state poker.”

Right now, there are three licensed online poker operators in Michigan: BetMGM, the World Series of Poker, and PokerStars.

Photo: Shutterstock

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