Regulators Cast Doubt on Timing of Michigan Online Poker Launch

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As 2020 comes to an end, the launching of online poker in Michigan seems impossible. With only three weeks remaining till the end of the year, where most days of remaining time will be holidays, Michigan online poker lovers should not expect to participate in their favorite igame until 2021. According to the Executive Director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, Richard Kalm, it would take six more weeks before online poker kickoff.

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) had last week waived the issue, allowing approval of internet gaming rules complied by MGCB to proceed to the state’s secretary for governor’s approval. However, despite the waiver, the concerned need more time to go through the required administrative steps before launching igaming in Michigan.

Mary Kay Bean, a spokesperson for the Michigan gaming board, had released a statement indicating that they hoped that online gambling could commence before the end of the year. However, after much consideration, this might not happen.

Other Reasons That Might Delay Online Poker’s Launch in Michigan

Nevertheless, the issue of a lengthy administrative process is not the only reason the launch of online poker might be delayed. When the JCAR issued a waiver, the Michigan control board had visited sportsbooks operators and their software providers to determine their progress in preparedness for online gaming launch. The response they got made it clear that the operators were not ready and needed more time. So, the state has to push the launching with another six weeks.

The Michigan gaming board has been on the route to introduce online gaming in the state, especially because of Michigan’s gaming industry’s financial constraints following the coronavirus pandemic. The introduction of online gaming will give Michigan residents freedom and chances for entertainment and recreational activities that are currently impossible due to COVID-19 infections.

Moreover, playing online poker is safer as it does not expose participants to the coronavirus present in public areas. Land-based casino affiliates for online gaming operators will have to get an internet gaming license to stand a chance to offer online gaming in Michigan. According to Kalm, nothing was standing in the way of the land-based casinos from accessing online gaming licenses.

Richard also added that the gaming board gave casino operators licenses as soon as they verified paperwork and completed other background investigations. Those companies willing to enter the online gaming industry also had to ask the software providers they were to partner with to provide their platform for MGCB to test the software and determine whether it complies with all requirements.

Which Online Poker Rooms Should Michigan Residents Expect?

Michigan residents can expect to play online poker on PartyPoker MI and PokerStars MI. The two companies belong to BETMGM, LLC and TSG Interactive US Services Limited respective, who submitted their application to offer online gambling services to Michigan before the deadline set by MGCB.

Other popular online gaming providers who unfortunately did not send their applications before the deadline include and 888poker. The two provide online poker software in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, which is why it could make sense if they wanted to enter Michigan as well. These two companies never even applied to enter Michigan even after the deadline, which means it’s unlikely they will soon enter the market.