There’s some good news on the U.S. regulated online-poker scene, where the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association, LLC (MSIGA), has announced that Michigan has been accepted into the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (also MSIGA). Though a hard join date was not announced, adding Michigan to the three existing MSIGA states — Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey — adds a significant boost in potential players to what will now be a four-state network.
Michigan had been rumored to have been in negotiations to join MSIGA for several months. And, a few weeks ago, when the Michigan Gaming Control Board issued a five-page bulletin to both existing and prospective operators about its expectations regarding multi-state poker, the proverbial cat was out of the bag. It became a question of how soon rather than if.
“The Multi-State Internet Gaming Association welcomes Michigan to its ranks, along with its nearly 10 million residents, who can now avail themselves of a full array of interactive gaming among the Association’s member states,” said Rebecca Satterfield, Manager of the Association and the Internet Gaming Manager for the Delaware Lottery. “The Association continues to be forward thinking and welcomes the interest of additional gaming jurisdictions in becoming party to the Agreement.”
MSIGA is incorporated in Delaware for both historic and corporate reasons. Delaware and Nevada jointly formed MSIGA in 2013, and New Jersey became the third MSIGA state in 2017. It shouldn’t take another five years for the next state to join, and it’s probably even money that Pennsylvania will join the network by the end of 2022.
Michigan’s addition is key for the concept of player pooling for regulated U.S. online-poker states. Michigan’s current population is just under 10 million, and that’s significantly larger than any of the first three MSIGA states.
WSOP likely gains the most from Michigan’s MSIGA membership
Several existing U.S.-based networks will benefit from Michigan becoming a part of MSIGA. That list, though, will certainly be topped by WSOP.com, which already offers multi-state services in all three prior MSIGA states. Previously, WSOP.com had offered standalone series for bracelets and online rings in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Michigan’s addition to MSIGA thus leaves Pennsylvania as WSOP.com’s only standalone online state.
But don’t forget PokerStars, BetMGM, and others. PokerStars already operates a regulated PokerStars MI site, as it does in New Jersey, and those two statewide sites are also likely to be combined in the near future. The same holds true for BetMGM, which is similarly available in both Michigan and New Jersey — though on independent sites at the present time — which are also likely to be merged as Michigan’s MSIGA membership becomes interactive.
And don’t forget 888poker and partypoker, both of which are currently on the outside of the Michigan online-poker market, looking in. One issue with the Michigan casino market is that it exists in two parts: There are three large, commercial casinos in or near Detroit, while the rest of the state is covered entirely by tribal casinos. Some of those tribal operations are quite large, however, and a partnership between one or more of them and online operators such as party or 888 remains a distinct possibility.
In any event, Michigan’s entry into the MSIGA framework is a big plus for U.S. regulated online poker. It’s been a much slower growth process than many American fans of online poker expected, but this is a big step forward nonetheless.