When it comes to online poker, interstate options are essential to healthy player traffic. States like New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada already offer interstate gaming, allowing players to compete against a larger pool of competitors. When new states start to consider online poker legislation, consideration is usually given to interstate gaming, but sometimes the idea falls through the cracks. In Michigan, online poker legislation was approved with any language regarding interstate gaming. That could soon change has an amendment is gaining traction, having just passed within the state Senate. It now moves on to the House for consideration.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board would be allowed to authorize interstate online poker if SB 991 is approved. The full Senate voted in favor of the amendment earlier this month and now it is currently being considered by a committee in the House.
Lawmakers are back in session on Tuesday, but only a short window remains to approve this measure. The bill would amend the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, a law that allows the state to offer online poker as well as casino gaming and sports betting. If approved, gaming regulators would be able to enter agreements with other jurisdictions like New Jersey and Delaware.
In the Senate, the bill passed with a vote of 389 to 36. One senator chose to excuse from the vote. The bill was then sent to the House Committee on Regulatory Reform. Right now, the bill is not on the official calendar of the House for consideration. This means that only one other day is when it could be added, October 21.
Unfortunately, there are only 15 days that the House of Representatives will be in session in the state before they adjourn for the year. If the bill is not passed by the full House and then sent to the governor before 2020 session comes to an end, lawmakers would have to start the process all over again. This would be unfortunate as the measure has already gotten this far and would certainly help the state as it starts offering online poker gaming.
The new industry is set to begin in November, so there is little time to waste before the first operators launch services.
Interstate Online Poker in the US
Right now, interstate online poker takes place in the US within New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, as mentioned. Pennsylvania has legalized online poker and is quite successful in the endeavor, but they have yet to become involved with the interstate option.
There have been efforts to thwart the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 by the Trump administration that could have dire consequences on an interstate online poker industry. Such efforts look to stop players from being able to play across state lines via the internet. Because of this, Pennsylvania has decided to wait to become involved.
So far, the efforts have been fruitless, but it is not for the lack of trying. Online poker has plenty of proponents and the existing industries have done quite well in protecting players as well as providing revenues to their respective states.