PokerStars is in the process of updating its software so players in Michigan and New Jersey will play against each other on the same platform.
The update pushed PokerStars, its sportsbook, and casino offline in Michigan and New Jersey for 48 hours starting on Monday. The sites in both states should be up and running sometime on Tuesday.
Players in Pennsylvania weren’t affected by the update.
PokerStars told its players via Twitter that the merge will happen “in the coming weeks.” CardsChat reached out to PokerStars for more information and will update if we hear back.
🚨 Attention MI and NJ players 🚨
Scheduled maintenance begins on Monday.
Please plan accordingly. pic.twitter.com/pTCh0RJrFI
— PokerStarsUSA (@PokerStarsUSA) December 11, 2022
Michigan became the fourth state to sign the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) in May. MSIGA is a 2014 pact between state governments that gives online poker operators in member states permission and the legal framework to put all of their players onto one online client.
Currently, only WSOP.com takes advantage of MSIGA and combines its player pools of New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. Michigan will surely be added to this network sometime next year, although no timeframe has been set.
This is also going to require a significant software update, as WSOP.com in Michigan runs on 888.com’s newer Poker 8 software, which isn’t the case in Nevada and New Jersey.
What does it mean for the players?
PokerStars promises the move will give players “more games, bigger prize pools, and guarantees in poker tournaments.”
Just take a look at different buy-ins and prize-pool guarantees of the currently running WSOP Online Circuit events taking place in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and NJ/NV to know that will turn out to be true.
Pennsylvania remains the only state that allows online poker, has an online poker industry, but isn’t a member of MSIGA. The decision to apply will be left to newly-elected Governor Josh Shapiro, who will be sworn into office on January 17. Shapiro has given no indication either way. CardsChat has reached out to his office.
West Virginia and Connecticut are the only other states that allow their online gambling operators to spread poker, but the online gambling corporations like PokerStar’s parent, Flutter, believe the states are too small to sustain a poker operation. As a result, no online poker sites have opened in those jurisdictions despite the growing popularity of online gambling.
West Virginia’s Lottery Director, John Myers, told CardsChat in late June that “West Virginia is indeed interested in joining MSIGA, but at this time, we have not made any application to join the group. It is something that is on the radar, and at the appropriate time we do look forward to making [an] application.”
A Nevada lawyer representing the Nevada Gaming Control Board and MSIGA told CardsChat that although West Virginia had inquired about joining, they haven’t heard from Connecticut officials. Here’s betting that West Virginia will become the fifth member sometime in 2023.
PokerStars recently made some moves to strengthen its brand in Michigan. It entered a sponsor partnership with the Detroit Red Wings that will put its logo on ice-level, and also named Michigan-based poker streamer David Kaye as an ambassador.