Crack all the jokes you want about Michigan, but the Great Lakes State is ready to help to help online poker in America take a huge leap forward. Michigan legalized online poker in 2019, but they will become the newest and fourth member of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA)... to join forces and share a player pool with legal online poker states of New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware.
The addition of Michigan almost doubles the potential player pool for MSIGA. Michigan is a lot bigger than you think with 250k square kilometers hugging the northern border with the Great Lakes and Canada. According to the last census, Michigan has 10 million residents as the tenth most populated state in the USA.
The original trio of MSIGA states had a population of 13-plus million, but the addition of Michigan to MSIGA tips the scales to over 23.5 million.
"I am happy to announce Michigan has joined the multi-state poker compact, and much of the increased tax revenue from multi-state poker will go to support K-12 education in Michigan," said Henry Williams from the Michigan Gaming Control Board. "By joining, Michigan will almost double the potential pool of participants in multistate poker games."
The main online poker operators in Michigan will have to do a few things before they can officially be a part of the shared player pool in MSIGA.
That means that PokerStars, BetMGM, and WSOP.com will have to jump through some hoops for the Michigan Gaming Control Board before they can get the go ahead.
"The operators still have work to do before Michigan residents may join multistate poker games," added Williams. "The MGCB must make sure Michigan residents are protected when they play multistate poker, and we will apply the same rigor to review of the new offering as we have other internet games."
For now there's no specific time frame for when the major online poker operators in Michigan will be sharing players with the other MSIGA states. It's doubtful it could get up and running before the start of the 2022 WSOP. Of course, it would be in the WSOP's best interest to get the WSOP.com site in Michigan compliant with the MGCB as soon as possible so Michigan residents can compete for some online bling.
Pennsylvania is the next state that could enter the MSIGA pact. The addition of the keystone state would be huge considering its size and 13 million residents. If you add Pennsylvania as the fifth state, MSIGA would include 36.5 million.
Connecticut (3.6 million) and West Virginia (1.8 million) are also two other states with legalized online poker, but their population is not as significant as Pennsylvania. They could also join MSIGA as the sixth and seventh members, which would push the total reach to almost 42 million. That's almost the size of Spain and the Ukraine.