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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitemer

Michigan poker players will soon have more competition as it became the fourth state to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA).

The compact allows real money poker players in the state to compete against players from Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. In addition, Pennsylvania hopes to soon be the fifth state to enter after approval by state agencies.

Delaware has had legal online poker since 2012, with Nevada following not long after. The two states signed an agreement in 2015 to allow players to compete against each other online.

That agreement was soon to become the MSIGA. New Jersey was the third state to join the compact in 2017.

No Timetable Set For Launch

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation into law in December 2020, which allowed the state to participate in multi-state online poker.

However, Michigan still needed to wait for acceptance into the agreement from the other three states and had requested minor changes to the compact before joining. The state thought it might receive approval by the end of last year, but it didn’t happen quickly enough.

There are still some regulatory conditions that need to be met before players in Michigan can link up with players from the other three states. For example, certain modifications to the platform and additional security measures need to be put into place before players can be shared among the four states.

In addition, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) says it must make sure players in Michigan are protected, just as it did when approving other online gambling options.

More Sites Could Eventually Join

The only operator in Michigan that is part of the MSIGA is WSOP, which launched in the state in March and will allow Michigan players to join interstate play soon.

Nevada and New Jersey are already enjoying poker tournaments with bigger prize pools than Michigan and Pennsylvania due to the higher number of players.

Joining the compact will allow other Michigan operators like BetMGM Poker and PokerStars to pool together players across their platforms with players in New Jersey.

MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams signed the agreement to allow players to compete in online poker across state lines. The original legislation to allow internet gaming signed in 2019 prohibited the pooling of interstate poker.

Lawmakers passed a statute the following year that gave the state agency the option to research if joining the MSIGA was beneficial to the state.

After the signing on Monday, Williams released a statement, saying, “I am happy to announce Michigan has joined the multi-state poker compact, and much of the increased tax revenue from multi-state poker will go to support K-12 education in Michigan.” He added, “By joining, Michigan will almost double the potential pool of participants in multi-state poker games.”

Williams determined that joining together with Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada would generate more revenue for the state by increasing the number of players in Michigan.

This would generate more fees and create a larger rake. That means more tax revenue, which, from the gaming market, the state collects and uses primarily to cover public education costs.