Michigan Joins New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada In Interstate Poker Compact

May 24, 2022
The Michigan Gaming Control Board has signed an agreement allowing in-state online poker players to compete with players in three other states, regulators announced on Monday.


The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has signed an agreement allowing in-state online poker players to compete with players in three other states, regulators announced on Monday (May 23).

The decision will allow players in Michigan to join players from Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey around a virtual poker table as a member of the multi-state internet gaming agreement (MSIGA).

“By joining, Michigan will almost double the potential pool of participants in multi-state poker games,” MGCB executive director Henry Williams said in a statement.

Michigan first legalized online poker and online casino games in 2019, when it became the sixth state to authorize internet gaming.

Online poker went live alongside sports betting and virtual casino games in January 2021. There are three online poker rooms available in Michigan — PokerStars, BetMGM, and Caesars' World Series of Poker (WSOP).

Language clearly allowing multi-jurisdictional play was omitted from the original internet gaming law signed in December 2019.

Online poker
Poker accounted for just 2.6 percent of total online gaming revenue in the U.S. last year.

But the Michigan legislature passed a follow-up bill one year later to allow the MGCB to join the multi-state jurisdiction internet gaming agreement.

The 2020 legislation limits multi-jurisdictional online play to poker.

The state was accepted into the MSIGA by the other members on April 6. On Monday (May 23), Williams signed off on the deal for Michigan to join the compact.

Delaware and Nevada launched the MSIGA in 2014, with New Jersey joining in May 2018.

“Michigan poker players will enjoy more options and will likely play for bigger money when they can compete against players from other states,” said Senator Curtis Hertel, a Democrat, and sponsor of the 2020 Senate Bill 991.

“I’m glad we were able to make this possible for Michigan poker players,” Hertel said in a statement.

Currently, six states — Delaware, West Virginia, Connecticut, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey — have legalized full online gaming, including casino games. Nevada has legalized online poker only.

Poker, unlike sports betting, slot machines, and virtual table games such as blackjack or roulette, is not proving to be a major revenue generator online, accounting for just 2.6 percent of total online gaming in the United States last year, according to VIXIO GamblingCompliance data.

More states may join the interstate compact in the future, but Connecticut and West Virginia have yet to launch poker games and populous Pennsylvania remains on the sidelines.

Whether Pennsylvania joins the poker agreement is a matter that must be moved forward by the governor’s office as it involves a contract with another state, said Douglas Harbach, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

“We have no information on any change in the status in this matter,” Harbach told VIXIO on Monday.

Although it is now a MSIGA member, the MGCB is still in the process of authorizing platforms to be able to launch multi-state poker. Currently, 888 is the only network powering poker platforms in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware on behalf of WSOP and the Delaware Lottery.

According to guidance issued in April, Michigan poker operators meet all conditions and requirements established in the multi-jurisdictional agreement and conduct multi-state poker involving only the jurisdictions in the agreement.

The MGCB must also approve new platforms or platform modifications, new remote gaming systems, and new game software, while any new suppliers used for multi-state poker must obtain internet gaming supplier licenses, including new platform providers, and new vendors may be required to register with regulators.

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 Michigan.

New operator or platform provider employees involved in the conduct of multi-state poker also may need to obtain occupational licenses from the MGCB.

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