Online poker has been the elephant in America’s online cardrooms since Black Friday, the anniversary of which takes place this year. It will come as something of a relief, then, to millions of poker players that another state, Michigan, has legalized online poker.
The Great Lakes State actually signed on the dotted line back in late 2019, but it’s taken all that time for PokerStars to offer Michigan-based players a way to play. That makes Michigan the fith state of the 50 in the United States to offer online poker – 10% of the country.
So what would it take to add the zero to that number and make it 100% of Americans who are eligible to turn on their WiFi, load up a poker lobby and click to win?
As we reported last week, Joe Biden could be the president who brings online poker back to America. That would be a big change, with 45 states needed to add to Michigan as well as the other four states in which online poker has been legalized: Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
It is, as many expected, PokerStars who have thrown open the doors for players to return to action in Michigan, with a collaboration between the world’s biggest poker site, FOX Bet and Stars Casino all leading to sportsbetting and casino games returning online.
Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) Executive Director Richard S. Kalm said in a press release that “We welcome the addition of Odawa Casino, Poker Stars, Fox Bet, and Barstool Casino to Michigan’s growing online gaming and sports wagering market. Their participation will generate revenue to support education, tribal communities, and the city of Detroit.”
The addition of revenue is a key point. With COVID-19 claiming the lives of 441,000 people to date in the United States, boosting the economy is an extremely salient point and one that will be high on the agenda for many politicians. With the knock-on effect felt positively in the opening four states to offer poker, Michigan can again provide a positive example of why bringing back online poker makes a lot of sense.
PokerStrars will be offering Michigan players exactly the same online championships as other states, so expect to see the MICOOP (Michigan Championship of Online Poker) announced in due course in the ‘Stars lobby. At that point, Michigan won’t be able to join in with any national tournaments, or indeed enter their games, being a segregated state. It may only be Michigan-wide tournaments on offer for now, but that’s looking to change at the end of March, with the 29th of that month mooted for interstate gaming.
Kip Levin, FOX Bet CEO, was just as pleased as PokerStars to be joining forces to bring online gaming to Michigan players.
“The key differentiators for us have always been our valued partnership with the FOX Corporation and the strength of our industry-leading FOX Bet Super 6 product combined with the PokerStars business and we plan to lean into these unique assets as we launch in Michigan,” he said. “Behind FOX Bet Sportsbook, PokerStars and Stars Casino, customers create one account for all three apps, unlocking a wide variety of exciting and entertaining options to supercharge the experience for our Michigan audience.”
With games such as the National Football League, Major League Baseball and National Hockey League all available to be wagered no by sportsbettors, the future for Michigan – and beyond that – the Unites States as a whole – looks tentatively bright.