Michigan is quickly on its way to interstate online poker. Senate Bill 991 makes it a possibility for the state to share online poker player pools with other states that have legalized poker as well as tribal gaming operators. The bill just passed a full Senate floor vote and now heads on to the House for approval.
What is SB 991?
The measure will amend the Lawful Internet Gaming Act (LIGA) to include a clause that allows the Michigan Gaming Control Board to sign contracts with regulators to share player pools. The option was included in earlier drafts of the LIGA, but lawmakers removed it due to a request by the state lottery.
With the Senate vote, approval was given to the measure 389-36. The sponsor of the measure, Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. says that he expects the bill will pass within the House. However, it most likely will not be voted on until next month.
With shared player pooling, Michigan will be able to create a quality poker ecosystem. Traffic will come from not only Michigan but other states they have partnered with which means continual cash games, large tournament numbers, etc.
Online Gambling Coming Soon
Michigan officials expect online casino, poker, and sports betting to launch in November. According to Hertel, SB 991 could reach the governor’s desk by late November. Even though the bill could be approved next month, it does not mean that player pooling will begin immediately.
The Wire Act is currently involved in a federal court battle, which will most likely leave Michigan delaying interstate online poker, even if it is legalized. If the Department of Justice is able to change the Wire Act, then interstate poker would be illegal.
For now, all eyes are on the state and which online poker operators will get started first. It is unclear as to which operators will be offering services. One operator that has announced plans for Michigan is partypoker. The partypoker US Network plans to launch in both Michigan and Pennsylvania in the near future.