Michigan on the verge of passing online poker bill, could still happen this year

Jon Sofen
Published by:
Posted on 12/03/2020

A Michigan online poker bill that was expected to pass a year ago is finally, at long last, on the verge of being put into law. And this is potentially some much needed positive news during the global health pandemic for the poker world.

It’s been a tough year for the poker industry. COVID-19 has forced the closure of numerous poker rooms around the world, not just in the United States. On top of that, we haven’t seen a major live poker tournament since early March anywhere in the world. There won’t even be a Global Poker Index Player of the Year for 2020 because the tournament scene was non-existent most of the year.

But the poker community may get some long overdue positive news before this year concludes. Not only should the upcoming WSOP Main Event bring some good publicity to the game. A Michigan online poker bill has now advanced to its furthest stage.

What’s going on with the Michigan online poker bill?

Last December, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed a series of internet gambling bills, including casino gaming and poker, along with sports betting and daily fantasy sports. The Wolverine State hoped to put these bills into law before the conclusion of the 2020 calendar year. Some expected the Michigan online poker bill to pass as early as November. But things haven’t gone so smoothly for the online gambling portion.

However, on Tuesday, the Michigan House Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted to ditch the 15-day period required to evaluate new gaming legislation. What that does is give the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) the right to begin accepting license applications for internet gambling sites.

So, in theory, a poker site or two could conceivably gain approval to launch before the year concludes. The chances of poker players in Michigan actually playing legal online poker before January is very slim, if not impossible. But there’s a high percentage chance that it could happen early next year.

State Senator Pete Lucido (R), the chair of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, is ready to set a launch date for online gambling in the near future.

“Everybody wants to get this thing going,” Sen. Lucido told The Associated Press. “This is something that’s long overdue at this point.”

At present, there are only four states with legal online poker sites in operation — Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Michigan would be another big get for the poker community as the Wolverine State is the 10th largest state in the country. Perhaps an online poker bill in Michigan passing could lead to additional states following suit.

Featured image source: Flickr