Michigan Online Poker: Who Are the Applicants for a Gaming License?

Poker players from Michigan are eagerly waiting for Michigan’s Lawful Internet Gaming Act to be implemented fully, which will see several gambling operators move to the region. Online poker became legal in the state of Michigan after Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the House Bill No. 4311 in December 2019. The new Act empowers Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to oversee daily operations of online gambling operators, including regulations enforcement and issuance of licenses.

The Act creates a lucrative business niche for gambling companies. Other types of online gambling that are now legal in Michigan include fantasy sports, casino games, and sports betting. MGCB revealed that it has since received more than fifty applicants, including both regional and international operators. Here is a quick analysis of reputable gaming license applicants and what to expect when they launch officially for the poker market:

PokerStars MI

PokerStars is the world’s largest online poker site and will venture into Michigan’s poker market from day one. The company secured a license to operate in the region, thanks to its prestigious reputation, as evident in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. PokerStars managed to ink its deal back in January, and will likely partner with the already established betting brands in the region, such as FOXBet and FanDuel.

Besides securing an operating license, PokerStars will also be regulated by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority.

Partypoker MI

Immediately after PokerStars went public about the Michigan deal, Partypoker quickly inked a deal with MGM Grand Detroit that will see it launching at the same time with its long-term rival. The two operators have been battling to control a majority of the USA’s poker market. This will not be the first time both Partypoker and PokerStars to venture into a new market together.

Since the two companies have yet to squash their rivalry, Michigan poker players should expect a similar experience to what happened in New Jersey in the past years. Nevertheless, the beef seems to play to the advantage of the bettors as both operators diversify their products and improve the overall gaming experience in a quest to win the majority’s hearts. For instance, the operators have a preceding reputation for stiff competition in organizing intense online tournaments and new talent acquisition.

888poker MI

Unfortunately, the Gibraltar-based online poker card room and network will not be among the first operators to launch officially in Michigan. Reliable sources indicate that the two-decade-old operator failed to clinch a deal with most of the regulators in the region. 888poker isn’t a stranger to the USA, as it currently offers its services in three states, including New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. In fact, 888poker offers the only poker site that shares players in three states in the USA.

While 888poker may not launch in the Michigan market in the immediate future, there are still high chances for it to make its way there after a few years. This is thanks to its robust experience in the online poker industry.


WSOP.com operates under the umbrella of Caesars Interactive Entertainment. This site is known to play host to some of the most controversial matches in poker history. For instance, the site will host the long-awaited Daniel Negreanu Vs. Doug Polk match on the first day of November. However, it is so unfortunate that the budding online site will not launch in Michigan yet, to compete with PokerStars and partypoker.

Michigan’s poker community should prepare to miss the highly-anticipated World Series of Poker, 2021 chapter, even though WSOP.com hasn’t yet confirmed the online event. Caesars Interactive Entertainment is the official sponsor of the event.

GGPoker MI

GGPoker dares to operate close to the borders of the USA in Mexico and Canada but still remains silent on when it will attempt to get into the USA market region, so the Michigan poker market doesn’t really sound like an option for this online operator.

Nonetheless, it is important to understand that GGPoker is quite forthcoming in terms of its favorable player experience. Its success in the international arena sees hundreds of USA poker players crossing the Canadian and Mexican borders during summers to play.

It is apparent that only two online poker giants will launch in a few weeks for the Michigan market. Other reputable applicants that we hope to see striking a deal soon include DraftKings, BetMGM, and SugarHouse.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett