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Michigan Governor Whitmer Signs Interstate Online Poker Law

January 14, 2021

On December 20, 2019, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the Lawful Internet Gaming Act. Signing the bill legalized internet gaming, sports betting, fantasy sports and poker. December 29, 2020, rolls around and Whitmer signed an amendment that authorizes interstate online poker. Because of the amendment, the Michigan Gaming Control Board can now coordinate agreements with other states to allow for online poker on an interstate basis.

Why Interstate Online Poker Matters

The signing of the bill is a monumental decision because the original bill lacked the interstate component. You could play poker with people in your state, but you couldn't play with the people outside your state. Signing this bill opens the door for greater revenue in the state, and the sector has a higher chance of prosperity with the signing of the new bill. This new bill sets the momentum for online poker in the state of Michigan.

Why Didn't They Make It Interstate Right Away

They originally omitted the interstate online poker law because they didn't want online casinos linking jackpots across state lines. Michigan State Senator Curtis Hertel introduced the bill as S.B. 991. Hertel had to elaborate on the difference between online poker and regular gaming for the bill to move forward with the amendment.

Along with being allowed to do interstate poker, the bill allows the online platform to make special deals with Indian casinos. The bill must still abide by federal and state law, and while you can do poker across state lines, you can only play games with players within the United States.

What Happens Next?

The interstate element, while signed on December 29, 2020, won't take effect until March 24, 2021. Until that date, no entities may sign deals with the Michigan Gaming Control Board. First, the state must launch some sites for online players because they currently don't exist. Michigan issued 15 provisional licenses in early December to several companies. Several will have online poker licenses like Poker Stars and Party Poker.

With the interstate poker amendment behind us, we will see much more coming into play. Much of what held it back before was the interstate online poker amendment. Because that amendment comes into effect on March 24, companies know that they can now move forward and be prosperous. The uncertainty before left companies in limbo, and they didn't want to take the risk.


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