Online Poker Hearing Set for This Week in Michigan

2017 is only in its third month and already several states have shown interest in the online poker industry. For several years, the only states to provide real money online poker game play has been Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. Other states have sat quietly in the back ground and watched as these states saw success in the industry. Now, it seems several states ready to jump in and try their hand at iPoker gaming, including Michigan.

Last year, Michigan tried to pass online poker gaming legislation but fell short. A bill is now back on the table for consideration and could see the state become the next to enter the industry. Last year, legislators of the state met to discuss online gaming and did so for several months. However, December came and went without any movement of legislation, so efforts died away.

In February, Senator Mike Kowall introduced the Lawful Internet Gaming Act which would set the state up again for the potential to offer online poker gaming. Kowall has been involved several times in trying to see Michigan go online. Lottery gaming is already offered over the internet after being approved in 2014. The state knows the benefit of the internet and Kowall would like to be able to provide not only poker but also casino games as well via the internet.

With the bill introduced by Kowall, online poker and casino gaming would be legalized and regulated in the state. The Michigan bill is actually a little bit different than other states as it emphasizes that poker has to be included, whenever any online gaming activity is provided. The state would also be allowed to take part in interstate agreements which means Michigan could partner with states that already have legalized online gaming such as Nevada and New Jersey.

Nevada already works with Delaware as part of a multi-state agreement to share player liquidity as far as online poker is concerned. Michigan could get in the mix if they are able to pass legislation into law. New Jersey has so far shown no interest in shared player pools.

With the legislation proposed by Kowall, the casinos in Michigan that already have licensing for land based operation will be the only ones that are eligible to obtain an online gaming license. The state already has 26 casinos, all of which are tribal venues except three commercial casinos. So far, no cap on how many online gaming sites has been introduced, so that state could become the largest operator of online gaming in the United States is legislation is approved.

The bill will now move forward for a committee vote this Wednesday and already seems to have support to move forward. The bill was introduced by Kowall, a committee member, and has the support of five Senate co-sponsors, all of which are members of the Senate Committee. The hearing and vote should take place on Wednesday and then would move on to the next stage in legislation.

It will be interesting to see if the bill moves forward and how well it is received in the full Senate if it moves forward. Michigan is one of several states that is looking to legalize online gaming for 2017. Other states showing interest include New York, California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Hawaii and New Hampshire.

We should see in the coming months as to which states will be able to move forward and join Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey in offering online gaming for residents as well as visitors to their state.