Michigan interstate poker bill in hearings

A hearing was held in Michigan this week to consider a bill that would allow Michigan to take part in interstate online poker compacts.

When Michigan passed a gambling expansion bill last year that legalized online poker, online casinos and sports betting the bill did not allow the state to enter into any agreements with other states to share online poker player liquidity.

It is believed that this was in part due to the ongoing battle over the interpretation of the Wire Act and the legality of interstate betting.

How would the Michigan interstate poker bill work?

The bill, dubbed SB991, does not contain any directives of how interstate online poker would operate in Michigan, nor does it mention any states that Michigan may look to sign compacts with. It would simply amend the original gaming expansion bill to allow interstate online poker under the eye of the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

The exact wording found in the bill’s summary states, “The bill would amend the Lawful Internet Gaming Act to allow the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to enter into agreements with other jurisdictions, including Indian  tribes,  to  facilitate,  administer, and  regulate multi-jurisdictional  internet gaming by internet gaming operators.”

To become law the bill would need to be granted consideration by the hearing and then pass votes in the Senate and the House of Representatives in Michigan.

If Michigan were to allow online poker compacts it could potentially sign deals with New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. All three states which have regulated online poker have already signed deals to share players.

There is also the possibility that Pennsylvania, which also have regulated online poker, could also enter into shared player compacts in the future. This has been the hope and vision of the regulated online US poker site market – that large markets will work together to pool liquidity and generate a better array of tournaments and poker action.

This in turn helps all states offer better product and generate more tax revenue from the online poker industry.