There appears to be some progress in Michigan’s efforts to join an interstate gaming compact. It’s been confirmed that the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) is now “waiting to hear” whether the state will be allowed to become part of the existing Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) after submitting some suggested changes to the multi-state deal.
Shared Liquidity Coming Nearer to MI
Earlier this month, it’s been reported that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the MGCB were at odds as to who has the authority to sign an agreement for MI to join an interstate gaming compact. Historically, it’s the governor who would sign multi-state gaming agreements. In the MSIGA for instance, the governors of Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey all signed onto the compact.
However, according to SB 991, a bill signed into law by Governor Whitmer in December 2020 allowing Michigan to enter into agreements with other states, the MGCB Executive Director has the authority to sign the compact.
While that issue may have been part of the reason why approval has been delayed, it gives the clearest indication yet that Michigan is ready for interstate online poker. If the discrepancies are resolved promptly, then Michigan players will finally be allowed to compete with other players outside the state starting this year.
At the moment, only two online poker sites are operating in Michigan – PokerStars and BetMGM Poker. A third room, WSOP MI, is eyeing a launch in the state, but it remains unknown when that will happen.
The operator will likely wait for Michigan to be allowed to join the MSIGA before going live in the state, though Yaniv Sherman, Senior Vice President and Head of US for 888 Holdings, previously made it clear that WSOP would enter MI with or without shared liquidity. 888poker provides software support for all WSOP.com sites across the country.
What to Expect if MI Becomes Part of MSIGA
Assuming MI gets the approval it needs to share player pools with other states and WSOP MI launches in the state, then the US will have its first-ever four-state poker network. The WSOP/888 network currently operates in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware, the three states that are part of the MSIGA.
Not only that – PokerStars will also create its own network by combining its operations in New Jersey and Michigan. The same goes for the partypoker US Network comprised of BetMGM, Borgata, and partypoker which is also present in NJ and MI.
Shared liquidity provides huge benefits for the operators, players, and the participating states. A larger player pool means bigger tournaments and bigger prize pools to compete for, more exciting promotions, and more action for players. It will also drive more revenue for the operators and the state.
The online poker industry is monitoring the developments surrounding Michigan’s attempt to join the MSIGA. At the moment, it’s not a matter of if but when shared liquidity will finally take effect in the Wolverine State.
Michigan’s participation in the existing compact will most likely open the doors for more states with regulated online poker to also join the deal. Things will get even bigger once Pennsylvania decides to jump on board. The Keystone State, which has the fifth-highest population in the US, is currently home to three online poker operators – PokerStars PA, BetMGM/Borgata, and WSOP PA.
As the MSIGA expands, more US states will also consider legalizing online poker and launching their respective regulated markets. Currently, the only states offering legal online poker in the country are New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. The game is also legal in West Virginia but there is no active online poker site operating in there yet.