Casino and sports betting fans in Michigan could soon have a new online option after the state made progress in its journey towards an online poker sector. The new developments come five months after Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a law legalising online betting.
Currently, the number of states in the US that offer online gambling is a minority, while when it comes to legalized online poker, there are only six. As the demand for live poker and casino games has dropped, with the closure of the nation’s casinos during the COVID-19 shutdown, few states have been in a position to take advantage. Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, currently have infrastructures up and running to offer online poker to customers, and they have seen a boost.
And change is also on the horizon in Michigan as the Michigan Gaming Control Board has officially started to accept applications to offer online poker. In a press release detailing the new stage of the legalization process, the executive director of the MGCB, Richard Kalm, said that they were expecting betting in all sectors of internet gambling to be up and running within a year, although there was still work do be done to finalize regulations for the next sector:
“We continue to make progress on rule promulgation for internet gaming and online sports betting. While we expect to launch these forms of betting by early 2021, we hope it can happen sooner.”
Obtaining an online betting license will require firms to pay a $50,000 application fee, a $100,000 initial licensing fee and then a $50,000 annual renewal fee. At this stage, only the three commercial casinos based in Detroit and the 23 tribal casinos in Michigan have permission to apply for a license.
Those operators will be permitted to offer two separate brands for their online gaming venture. In the case of poker, this could mean that a partnership could be drawn up between a major online poker operator, such as PokerStars, and a land-based casino to run its online poker room.
West Virginia have also legalized online betting, but are still working through the details. Governor Jim Justice signed an online gambling bill over a year ago, and earlier this month, a set of rules was produced by the West Virginia Lottery Commission that could in theory enable the launch of online poker later this summer.