PokerStars customers in Michigan and New Jersey are going through a little short-term pain for long-term gain early this week as the operator prepares its sites for multi-state liquidity.
PokerStars USA tweeted what it termed an “important announcement” Sunday for the benefit of its Michigan and New Jersey players, dangling the prospect of a “major upgrade” for online poker players after the site is shut down for maintenance in the two states Monday and Tuesday:
The upgrade refers to the pooling of poker players from the multiple states, which enables PokerStars to take advantage of the greater number of participants by providing more games and bigger payouts. While PokerStars hasn’t stated the exact day those benefits will begin, such expansion has been awaited ever since Michigan joined the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement in the spring. It’s now clearly clearly imminent within weeks, if not days.
Michigan a big catch for compact
The Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement has up to now enabled poker players in New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada to play together, but it has only been available in those states on the WSOP platform. The populations of Delaware and Nevada are also much smaller than New Jersey’s.
Michigan and Pennsylvania are the big states with legal online poker that operators and players have been waiting on to join the multi-state compact. While Pennsylvania state officials have provided no timetable on plans to join, Michigan formally applied and was accepted in April, although it takes many months to resolve details among operators and regulators and to put plans into practice. It is up to operators to decide to pursue the multi-state option.
While WSOP began online poker operations in Michigan this year, joining PokerStars and BetMGM as options within the state, it is PokerStars that is the first to indicate its intent to pool Michigan players with those from New Jersey. (Unlike WSOP, PokerStars does not operate in Delaware or Nevada.)
While the upgrade required on the sites is due to poker, it also has temporarily shut down the PokerStars and FOX Bet sites for online casino play and sports betting in the two states. As PokerStars is not undergoing changes in Pennsylvania, it remains available to customers there.