Michigan Officially Becomes Fourth State to Join Online Poker Pact

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Michigan’s online poker rooms “still have work to do” before they can link their players across state lines, but regulators have opened the state’s borders by officially joining the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA).

Michigan joins MSIGA. (Image: uofmhealth.org)

Michigan became the fourth member of the pact that allows sites to share online poker player pools. Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have been part of MSIGA since its inception in 2013. Michigan joining nearly doubles the number of online players available to sites operating in member states, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board, which made the announcement today.

Only WSOP.com takes advantage of the MSIGA by putting its Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware (through state’s casino skins) players all on one site, which is run on 888Poker’s software. WSOP.com is the only legal online poker site in Nevada.

BetMGM and PokerStars also operate in Michigan and New Jersey, so look for them to take the steps to link up as soon as they are approved by the MGCB.  

Work to do

While a positive step forward, MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams warned in the press release that the online poker rooms still have to meet several layers of criteria before the gambling board allows its online poker players to play across state lines. 

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

MGCB gave its three operators a list of rules and changes they must make in order to seat its players under one virtual roof. They include: 

  • Meet all conditions and requirements established in the multijurisdictional agreement and conduct multistate poker involving only the jurisdictions in the agreement.
  • 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 multistate poker must obtain internet gaming supplier licenses, including new platform providers, and new vendors may be required to register with the MGCB.

The MGCB gave its three online poker operators these rules in a five-page guideline in March, the same month a spokesperson told CardsChat the state had applied to join MSIGA.  

The schedule-makers at WSOP.com may have given players a hint as to when Michigan’s players will enter the bigger pool: WSOP.com players in Michigan will have their own slate of bracelet events this summer, while players in Nevada and New Jersey will face each other. The last bracelet event in Michigan is on July 17.

That, of course, could change. As for when BetMGM and PokerStars will open, Cardschat reached out and will update if they respond.  

More players mean bigger guarantees

Michigan lawmakers gave the MCGB permission to join MSIGA in 2020, a year after legalizing online poker and gambling. The sponsor of that bill was Sen. Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing).

“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 press release.“I am glad we were able to make this possible for Michigan poker players.”

WSOP.com players in New Jersey and Nevada are already offered tournaments with bigger prize pool guarantees, compared to the same events held in Pennsylvania and Michigan. And although it happens, it’s a rare day on WSOP.com in New Jersey and Nevada when tournaments don’t meet their prize promises, though it’s somewhat normal on WSOP.com  in both Pennsylvania and Michigan.

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