Michigan online poker launching in November?

It looks like Michigan online poker launching before the end of the year will happen, bringing the regulated US poker site action that state’s players have craved for so long. 

In December, 2019 when Michigan legalized online poker and other forms of online gambling, regulators initially targeted the first quarter of 2021 as an expected launch date. The COVID-19 epidemic and its affect on gambling revenues in the state changed all that.

With brick and mortar gambling revenues plummeting during the pandemic, and subsequently the taxes raised by those revenues also flailing, the online gambling launch was fast tracked in Michigan. Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive Director Richard Kalm confirmed earlier this week that they are hoping for a November launch as long as everything goes smoothly.

Why is Michigan online poker launching early?

To help smooth out the planning and regulatory operations that need to be in place before the launch Michigan has looked to other states to save time. In developing their online gambling rules and regulations Michigan looked to other states where online gambling and online poker already exist, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The next stop for the rules and regulations is the Michigan Office of Administration Hearing and Rules. They are expected to be submitted to the Office later this week. If they get approved by the Office they would move on to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules sometime later in October.

The final step after the rules reach the Committee would be the approving and issuing of licenses to online gambling operators. If this all goes off without any major problems online poker sites in Michigan could potentially start launching in late November.

There is also a chance that Michigan could allow share player liquidity with other states not long after online poker launches in the state. When online gambling was originally legalized allowances for interstate compacts were not written into the laws.

However, SB991 which would allow Michigan online poker operators to develop compacts to share players with other states, was introduced earlier this year and it could pass through the Senate and House by the end of October.

In the meantime, check out the standard bearer US poker site lineup