Michigan is one of the six US states to legalize online poker.
With a population of nearly 10 million residents, it will become the second-largest in the US where regulated online poker is offered.
Currently, online poker is live in four states: Nevada (3 million population), Delaware (under 1 million), New Jersey (under 9 million), and Pennsylvania (around 13 million).
Michigan will become the fifth state to launch online poker. West Virginia legalized online poker in 2019 but has yet to launch an online poker room.
Online poker is anticipated to go live in Michigan in early 2021, most likely in Q1.
Is Online Poker Legal in Michigan?
Yes, online poker is legal in Michigan. In December 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bill HB 4311, the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, into law legalizing online poker along with online casino, sports betting and fantasy sports contests.
It became the sixth state in the US to legalize online poker following Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Players must be 21 years or older to play at a regulated online poker room in Michigan.
When is Online Poker Expected to Go Live in Michigan?
Regulated online poker in Michigan is expected to be rolled out in early 2021, with a Q1 launch date looking most likely.
On December 1, the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) waived the 15-day waiting period to approve state regulations, allowing them to be submitted to the Secretary of State for approval.
Following that crucial administrative step, the MCGB believed that it could still launch igaming before the end of 2020, but just days later, MCGB Executive Director, Richard Kalm, estimated that the launch of online gaming in the state was still at least six weeks off.
Later in December 2020, the MGCB completed another required procedural step when it issued provisional licenses to 15 gaming platform providers.
Of the 15 provisional licenses issued by the state regulators, two companies are expected to be among the first to offer online poker in Michigan: BetMGM, LLC d/b/a Roar Digital and TSG Interactive US Services Limited d/b/a Fox Bet.*
BetMGM along with Roar Digital offers online poker in New Jersey under the brands partypoker NJ, BetMGM and Borgata Poker on the partypoker US Network while TSG is the parent company of PokerStars that operates in both PokerStars NJ and PokerStars PA in Pennsylvania*.
Both the companies are expected to offer online poker in Michigan with PokerStars MI and BetMGM Poker MI likely to become the first rooms to go live in the Wolverine State.
It is notable that neither WSOP.com nor 888 were among those to submit applications to the MGCB in time to be considered for the initial launch.
It is likely that online sports betting and online casino operators will be given higher priority due to its potential to produce greater revenues compared with online poker that is more complex and requires additional regulatory oversight.
Which Online Poker Rooms are Expected to be Available in Michigan?
In July, the MGCB issued a notice to potential applicants that desired to be a part of a coordinated initial launch to submit their applications to the board with a deadline of August 14.
Nearly 50 applications were sent to the state regulators, a majority of them showing interest in both internet gaming (poker and casino) and internet sports betting.
The two operators that made that deadline by submitting their applications and are likely to be a part of a coordinated initial launch include:
- PokerStars MI (TSG Interactive US Services Limited)
- partypoker MI (BETMGM, LLC – Roar Digital)
Both companies received provisional licenses from the MGCB in late December 2020 further solidifying their status as the favorites to first launch online poker in Michigan.
Notably missing from the list of applicants is WSOP.com and 888 Holdings. Neither of the two operators has their applications pending with the MGCB, raising doubt whether WSOP MI or 888 MI will be part of the initial online gaming launch in Michigan. However, given their presence in other US states, it is very likely they will offer online poker to customers at some point in the near future.
Will Michigan Online Poker Players be Able to Play with Players in Other US States Where Online Poker is Legal?
In mid-December, the Michigan House of Representatives followed the example of the Michigan Senate and approved SB 991 – legislation that will grant the MGCB the power to enter into an agreement with other jurisdictions within the US for the purpose of allowing cross-border liquidity sharing in online poker once the market goes live.
The bill is currently with Governor Gretchen Whitmer who is expected to sign it into law in the opening days of 2021.
However, at the time of launch, online poker in Michigan will likely be ring-fenced, meaning players will only be able to compete with players within the state.
A measure to give the law immediate effect was defeated, meaning that it will be at least 90 days before shared liquidity with Michigan is eligible to become a reality.
Are Any Pre-Registration Bonuses Available from Online Poker Companies in Michigan?
Yes, currently BetMGM MI has a pre-registration bonus offer for use at its online sportsbook and online casino once they go live.
In total, BetMGM is offering an extra $200 in bonuses on to of the Welcome Bonus Package it will announce upon launch.
To qualify for the additional pre-registration bonus offer, players must:
- Register for a new account here before the offer expires on January 31, 2021
- Complete your BetMGM account KYC verification during the pre-registration period
The bonus includes $100 in FREEBETS at the BetMGM Sportsbook and $100 in FREEPLAY at the BetMGM Casino.
No deposit is required during the pre-registration period to be eligible for this Promotion. Players have just 7 days after the sportsbook goes live to use the FREEBETS. For the casino bonus, players must activate the FREEPLAY within 7 days of the casino going live, and they will have 14 days to complete the wager requirements.
Sign up to BetMGM MI Casino today and get a special $200 pre-registration bonus »
Are Online Gaming Operators Required to Partner with Land-Based Casinos in Michigan to Offer Online Gambling?
Yes, just like in other US states, online gambling in Michigan will only be permitted through partnerships with land-based Michigan casinos.
Who Regulates and Licenses Online Gaming in Michigan?
The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) is overseeing the licensing applications for internet gaming and internet sports betting suppliers and vendors and is in the process of drafting regulations and issuing licenses.
Have the Online Poker Rooms Partnered with Land-Based Michigan Casinos?
PokerStars’ parent company, The Stars Group (TSG) now called Flutter has secured a partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority, gaining first skin market access for real-money online poker, casino games and sports betting in Michigan.
partypoker’s parent company (GVC) has a partnership with MGM Resorts which owns the MGM Grand Detroit.