Online poker is one step closer to reality in Michigan. The state’s House of Representatives voted in approval of SB 991, which is a follow up measure to the Lawful Internet Gaming Act. The House approved the bill 85 to 16, authorizing the Gaming Control Board to allow interstate online poker. With this approval, the board can work with other states that have legalized online poker, such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Player pooling will allow Michigan to have a more lucrative industry.
The measure has now been sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for approval. Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr. is the lead sponsor of the poker measure, who told Pokerfuse that it was expected the bill would pass. The Senator also commented on how exciting it is to see Michigan have the ability to provide players with a more robust system.
Online poker was first approved by the state in December 2019. Online casino gaming, poker, and sports betting were approved to help bring more revenues to the state via taxes. The goal is to help education needs as well as provide funds for firefighters who are facing a cancer diagnosis.
Even though online gambling was approved in Michigan in late 2019, it has taken a year to get the industry started. Rules and regulations had to be created along with operator vetting and licensing approval.
Just a few days ago, the board approved the first provisional licenses in the state, giving 15 gaming platform providers the green light. Because of this approval, it is expected that the first online gambling operations will start in January 2021.
While online gambling will likely start next month, it is expected that online poker will be the last to begin. It is unclear as to whether poker will be among the first operations to begin in the state. All games must be evaluated by the gaming lab and approved by the board before they can launch.
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