Michigan Online Poker
Online poker is Michigan is no longer a matter of if. The question now is when.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the Lawful Internet Gaming Act in December 2019, legalizing not only online poker, but several other types of online casino gambling. Now it’s up to the Michigan Gaming Control Board to finalize rules and regulations and manage the application process before online poker operators can electronically shuffle up and deal.
Michigan lawmakers and residents overcame a false start a year earlier, when an online poker bill passed the State Legislature, only to be vetoed by outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder. This time, Whitmer, a gambling proponent, signed the bill into law on Dec. 20, 2019, making Michigan the sixth state to legalize internet poker.
Michigan was already a poker and gambling-friendly state with three major Detroit casinos, more than 20 Indian casinos on tribal lands and dozens of real money poker rooms throughout the state.
Can I Play Poker Online in Michigan?
Not yet. The Michigan Gaming Control Board is still in the process of crafting regulations for internet poker, online casino gambling and online sports betting, a hefty agenda requiring multiple layers of approval.
In the meantime, Michigan online poker players can sign up at social casinos and sweepstakes poker sites, in which players are provided free virtual coins and can win prizes, with no actual money changing hands. Poker or video poker can be played on the websites of social casinos and operators such as Chumba Casino or Global Poker, or through a variety of Facebook apps.
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When to Expect Online Poker in Michigan
Most projections target the first half of 2021.
Michigan regulators are proceeding cautiously in crafting online gambling regulations for poker, online casino games and sports betting. The coronavirus crisis added to the delays by shutting down state offices for a lengthy period of time. In addition, Whitmer asked regulators not to issue emergency rules, which have been used in other states to speed the regulation process along.
According to the Detroit News, regulators estimate online gaming rules will take about a year to develop, with 2021 the expected date to begin operations.
CHECK OUT: Our Guide To Michigan Online Casinos For The Latest Developments & Top Online Casino Offers When They Become Available
Which Brands Will Provide Online Poker in Michigan?
The first operator to move into the Michigan online poker market is The Stars Group, owner of PokerStars.
In January 2020, the Stars Group (which operates as FOX Bet online sportsbook) announced a partnership with the Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians to provide online poker and online betting services. PokerStars is among the leading online poker operators in the world, and operates U.S. sites in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (where it has the online poker market to itself).
Other online operators are likely to follow. The most logical is PartyPoker, a partner with MGM, which owns the state’s largest casino (MGM Grand Detroit) and offers online poker in other states. The state’s other two major casinos are operated by Penn National Gaming (Greektown Casino) and IH Gaming (MotorCity Casino). Neither offers an online poker site in other states, though Penn National Gaming is an experienced online gaming operator in Pennsylvania.
Will I Be Able to Play Against Others in Different States?
Not initially, but perhaps eventually.
One difference between the bill Snyder vetoed and Whitmer signed was the removal of a multi-state compact clause. Currently, New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada are part of that compact, which allows players from those three states to compete against each other using the WSOP.com and 888poker platforms. The compact vastly improves player liquidity, meaning more players, choices and games available.
States not part of the compact have cited legal concerns, specifically whether the Wire Act of 1961, which prevents sports betting across state lines, applies to poker.
Also to be determined is whether Caesars Entertainment will enter the Michigan online poker market. Caesars operates the WSOP.com platform and is a partner with 888poker, which currently provide the only shared liquidity market.
How to Create an Online Poker Account
In states where online poker is legal, the sign-up process is simple. Go to the poker site of your operator of choice. You will be prompted to begin the registration process and asked to provide:
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Physical address
- Cell phone number
- Last four digits of Social Security number
The last four digits of your Social Security number are necessary for the online poker operator to verify your identity, age and to protect against potential fraud. All bettors must be at least 21 years old. You don’t need to be a Michigan resident to set up a poker site account – in fact an account can be set up from anywhere – but all wagers must be placed from inside state lines.
After registration is complete, claim whatever bonuses you may be offered and select one of the deposit options to fund your account. Once funds are deposited, you are ready to begin play.
If you prefer playing a poker game on your mobile device, simply download the app – either from the online poker site itself of the App Store – and sign into your account.
Where Can I Play In-Person Poker in Michigan?
Below is a list of most of the state’s poker venues, with many located in casinos, standalone card rooms, bars and bowling alleys. No-limit Texas Hold’em cash games are offered, with the bigger venues also offering Omaha and other games, along with a variety of tournament play.
|Poker Room||City||No. of tables|
|MGM Grand Casino||Detroit||17|
|Poker Room||City||No. of tables|
|Bay Mills Resort & Casino||Brimley||4|
|FireKeepers Casino||Battle Creek||22|
|Gun Lake Casino||Wayland||14|
|Island Resort & Casino||Harris||6|
|Kewadin Casino||Sault Ste. Marie||4|
|Ojibwa Casino Baraga||Baraga||1|
|Ojibwa Casino Marquette||Marquette||3|
|Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort||Mt. Pleasant||14|
|Poker Room||City||No. of tables|
|5 Star Charity Poker Room||Sterling Heights||6|
|American Poker Room||Shelby||3|
|Burton Eagles Poker Room||Burton||6|
|Ciccarelli’s Sports Bar||Utica||8|
|Huron Poker Room||Oscoda||6|
|Krazy Kopz at Vision Lanes||Westland||15|
|Langan’s All Star Poker Room||Walled Lake||8|
|Legends Poker Place||Metamora||8|
|Live Action Poker Room Boomers||Allen Park||4|
|Momo’s Poker Room||Taylor||14|
|One Eyed Jacks Poker Lounge||Utica||8|
|Owosso Poker Room||Owosso||10|
|Players Golf & Poker Room North||Livonia||5|
|Players Golf & Poker Room South||Livonia||9|
|Prime Time Poker at 59 West||Highland||8|
|Rounders Poker Room||Saginaw||7|
|The Event Spot Poker Room||Lansing||6|
|The Event Spot II Poker Room||Lansing||2|
|Thompson Poker Room||Ypsilanti||3|
|Waterford Card Room at 300 Bowl||Waterford||8|
|Winning Hand Poker||Trenton||12|
Payment Options for Online Poker in Michigan
When internet poker goes live, Michigan players will be offered several banking options to fund their accounts. Among the most popular:
Play+/prepaid cards:Play+ was created for finding casino and sportsbook accounts and can be funded with a credit card or through your bank account. It can also be used to cash out winning, and you can access funds at participating ATMs. Other prepaid cards contain a specific value. Available at retail locations or some online poker operators offer their own branded prepaid cards on their websites.
E-wallets: The most popular are PayPal and Neteller, which store your credit card or bank account information and allow you to transfer funds to your online poker account for low fees.
PayNearMe:No credit card or bank information needed. Use cash only to make a deposit at any Michigan-based 7-Eleven, Family Dollar or CVS Pharmacy location, with the money transferred to your online poker account by barcode.
Credit/debit card: Always a convenient option and deposits are processed quickly. Watch for high fees since some financial institutions treat these transactions as cash advances. Also be aware than some financial institutions that issue Visa and Mastercard still block internet gambling transactions even if they are with legal, regulated online betting and casino sites.
ACH/bank transfer: A form of electronic check. Funds are transferred directly from your bank account to your poker site account. A convenient method for withdrawals.
History of Online Poker in Michigan
1993: State signs compact with Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, paving way for tribal casinos, which are permitted to offer poker.
1999: Three years after voters approve statewide referendum to allow commercial casinos, MGM Grand Detroit opens in July, followed by MotorCity Casino in December. Greektown Casino opens the following year.
2017: State lawmakers introduce Lawful Internet Gaming Act, which would permit online poker, casino games and sports betting.
2018: Lawmakers pass amended Lawful Internet Gaming Act in December, sending bill to outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder, who vetoes the legislation.
2019: Revised Lawful Internet Gaming Act is approved by both chambers and signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in December. Revised law does not include multi-state compact to share online poker players with other states.
2020: Michigan Gaming Control Board begins process of crafting online poker rules and regulations.
2021: Projected starting date for online poker in Michigan.
Michigan Online Poker FAQ
Is online poker legal in Michigan?
Yes. Online poker is part of the Lawful Internet Gaming Act (H 4311), which was signed into law in December 2019. Rules and regulations are currently being developed.
Will I need to live in Michigan to play online?
No, you do not need to be a Michigan resident. But Michigan account holders must be physically located within the state when playing in an online poker room. Geofencing technology is used to track a player’s location.
What poker variations will Michigan provide?
No-limit Texas Hold’em will be easy to find. Pot-limit Omaha and a variety of stud games should also be available.
Will online poker be safe in Michigan?
As long as you are playing at a licensed poker site that is regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, the games will be fair and your account safe. Do not play online poker at offshore-based sites, which operate with no oversight and provide unnecessary risks.
How much will my poker winnings be taxed in Michigan?
All gambling winnings are fully taxable, according to the IRS, at a rate that will depend on your tax bracket. Michigan also assesses a 4.25% tax on winnings.
Will there be poker apps in Michigan?
You can bet on it. Online poker apps provide convenience and wagering mobility, allowing you to bet from anywhere within the state at any time. The apps are specifically designed for your mobile device, generally available for iOS and Android, and can be downloaded for free on your operator’s website or the App Store.
About the Author
Chet Fussman is a writer for Bookies.com. Fussman is a former horse racing writer and longtime sports editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. He's a poker and blackjack player and frequent sports bettor, who plans to send the U.S. Supreme Court a thank-you card for clearing the way for states to adopt sports wagering. Fussman's philosophy: Don't let the bad beats overshadow your winning ones.