In December 2019, Michigan finally legalized online poker after House Bill No. 4311 was approved and turned into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Nearly a year later, the state prepares to launch its regulated online poker market.
When Michigan’s Lawful Internet Gaming Act was created, dozens of gambling operators submitted their license applications to the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The question now revolves around which operators are ready and when will much-awaited launch happens.
Not all of these applicants are expected to open an online poker room as some will focus on other iGaming verticals including sports betting, fantasy sports and online casinos. However, there are quite a few operators that are highly likely to launch their online poker sites as soon as the market opens. They include the world’s leading online poker operators, PokerStars and partypoker.
In January 2020, PokerStars’ parent company The Stars Group (TSG) secured a deal with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority that would enable the company to offer real money games when the state finally launches its regulated online gaming market.
TSG will likely offer online casino and sports betting via the FanDuel and FOXBet brands and will also launch online poker through its flagship poker brand PokerStars. The operator has already built a strong presence in New Jersey and more recently Pennsylvania. By the end of 2020, it is expected to launch PokerStars MI to cater to Michigan poker players.
partypoker which is the second biggest online poker room in the world is poised to launch an online poker site in Michigan as soon as the market opens. partypoker continues its quest to become the dominant player and topple PokerStars. One way it can do that is by having a good start in Michigan.
partypoker’s Michigan operations are made possible through a partnership agreement between Roar Digital (partypoker’s partner company in the US) and MGM Grand Detroit. The rivalry between PokerStars and partypoker is expected to continue in Michigan, and both sites will definitely come out with exciting game offerings, as well as massive tournaments and promotions to mark their launch in the state, in a bid to capture the bigger market share.
This is what is currently taking place in New Jersey, where the two operators are the most dominant operators in the market. Meanwhile, the other big players in the online poker market, like 888poker and WSOP.com and GGPoker do not appear to be ready to launch their respective sites in Michigan anytime soon.