Online Poker Slow-Going in Michigan

Michigan was one of the latest states in the US to legalize online poker, casino gaming and sports betting, but it seems that players will still have to wait an extended amount of time before wagering can begin. According to new information, the industry will not be ready to launch until next year.

Delayed Launch

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has stated that all of the new online gaming options as well as sports betting will not be ready until 2021. Board Communications Specialist Mary Kay Bean spoke with Online Poker Report, stating that the Board is estimating that it will take a year to complete the rule making process.

The estimate of the year time frame is based on how long it has taken the Board to complete rules for other areas in the past.

While regulators get their work in order, operators are wasting no time in building partnerships to offer online poker and other gaming options. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the Lawful Internet Gaming Act in December 2019 and since that time, both tribal casinos and commercial operators have been busy building partnerships so they can launch online when the time comes.

Unfortunately, that time will be a ways from now. In the state, there are several agencies involved in the rule-making process as well as steps to cover. Those involved can choose to speed up or slow down the timeline. Several sets of rules must be created then those rule sets have to be passed via many levels before moving forward.

According to Bean, the Board does expect that the rules regarding sports betting as well as online poker and casino gaming will move along at the same pace. If so, then we could see all the new options launch in the state at the same time.

In other states, emergency rules were put in place to get the ball rolling at a faster pace so operations can launch, and revenues can start coming in. However, Governor Whitmer told the Board not to use an expedited rulemaking process in this case.

Don’t Hold Your Breath

Poker players shouldn’t hold their breath when it comes to the impending launch. It will most likely be a long and drawn-out process. As long as it took online gaming to come to pass in the state, it could take just as long to see the iGaming industry finally launch.

Representative Brandt Iden tried in 2018, only to be shot down by the governor at the time with a veto. He then ran into issues with the new Governor Whitmer as she was not on board with the details of the online gambling bill.

It took a lot of changes and negotiations for Michigan to get to this point. Now, we have to wait and see if the rule-making process will take just as long. If everyone can agree and the rules move through the proper channels at a nice rate of speed, then maybe the industry will be ready sooner than expected.

However, there is no way to know if everyone will be in agreement as to how the rules need to be crafted. Hopefully, we will see everyone on the same page the process can run smoothly so players are not waiting any longer than needed to get the industry launched.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett