After coming close to legalizing online gaming and poker in 2018, Michigan finally accomplished it in 2019. The state’s poker players received a nice Christmas gift when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law on Dec. 20.
With a population of 10 million people (about 1 million more than New Jersey), Michigan immediately becomes an intriguing poker market. While play will likely be limited in-state at first, adding Michigan as a legalized online poker state adds a nice number of poker players to the total US player pool.
When real money online poker goes live in Michigan, the industry will gain even more momentum.
Latest Michigan online poker updates
When will online poker launch in Michigan?
Michigan voters were hopeful in 2018 for legislation that legalized online poker but, after approving a bill late in the year, outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder ultimately vetoed it. That added yet one more delay to the eventual reality of Michigan online poker.
Fortunes reversed however in 2019 and on Dec. 20, Gov. Whitmer signed a bill into law. So now that Michigan has legalized online poker, when can players expect to jump in to the action at online poker tables?
As of August 2020, the Michigan Gaming Control Board was still developing its final rules for:
The agency can’t license casinos or their online operations partners until administrative rules are put in place. The Gaming Control Board isn’t expecting any forms of online gambling to become available until early 2021.
Sweepstakes poker an option for Michigan players
While poker players anxiously await for major brands such as PokerStars and partypoker to launch in Michigan, in the meantime they can still play 100% legal real money poker online through sweepstakes poker sites.
Because these sites follow a unique sweepstakes or social gaming model, players in 49 US states (excl. WA) are currently eligible to play.
Global Poker is one of the biggest and best known among these. Players in the US and Canada (excluding Quebec) can enjoy a comparable online poker playing experience with an opportunity to win real money.
Global Poker uses a free-to-play virtual currency called Gold Coins. Players get 1,000 Gold Coins free on sign-up and can use these to play free cash games and tournaments.
Players that purchase more Gold Coins also receive a second virtual currency called Sweeps Coins. These coins are used in separate Sweeps Coin poker games such as:
- Ring games
- Tournaments (& tournament series)
- Sit & go’s
- Jackpot sit & go’s
Unlike Gold Coins, Sweeps Coins can be cashed out for real money. Global Poker’s business model offers a fun social gaming experience with the opportunity to win some real cash.
Global is owned and operated by VGW Holdings Limited, a publicly traded company incorporated in Australia. The Malta Gaming Authority regulates VCW’s social gaming platforms, which include free sweeps cash casinos as well.
Players can expect fair games and feel safe in the knowledge that their account information and player funds are secure. The site offers the following poker variations with stakes for every bankroll level:
- Texas Hold’em online
- Crazy Pineapple
Michigan players can currently access an exclusive USPoker bonus offer for a free $20 Gold Coin package just for signing up or a $40 package for depositing $20. Click below to start the process:
Which poker brands will offer online poker in Michigan?
This remains a bit of a mystery in Michigan. When the regulation process does get rolling, poker players may have some better idea as to what to expect.
Representatives with the Michigan Gaming Control Board have said the department will share applicants’ names after vetting is completed. Those companies would then seek licensing approval from the five-member control board.
PokerStars in Michigan
One company has already shown interest in online poker in Michigan – PokerStars.
The site’s parent company, The Stars Group, announced a partnership with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority on Jan. 6, 2020. The tribe operates three properties including the Odawa Casino Resort in northern Michigan.
The addition of the PokerStars platform would be welcome news to many Michigan poker players. The agreement grants The Stars Group the first skin in the market. The company could offer integrated real-money online casino gaming, sports betting and poker. In the interim, if you want to play free online poker with friends, you can play via play money games in the PokerStars.et software.
partypoker + MGM Grand Detroit
The MGM Grand Detroit is also the largest casino in the state. MGM partners with partypoker in New Jersey through the Borgata, and that may be an option in Michigan as well. A partypoker entrance into the market offers a nice option for online poker players.
Caesars Casino doesn’t have a property in Michigan but could reach an agreement to operate WSOP.com. The WSOP online poker platform has the only shared liquidity market among New Jersey, Nevada, and with its partner 888poker in Delaware.
The Greektown Casino is owned by Penn National Gaming. The company owns some online gaming operations in Pennsylvania but hasn’t offered online poker. But that could always change as more states become possible.
Michigan offers another big opportunity for online poker operators and expect some considerable interest from the big players. Other international brands like GG Poker or Run It Once Poker might also be interested as the US online poker market continues to expand.
Real money poker apps in Michigan
Most Americans are now accustomed to using mobile apps for productivity, gaming, and various other life-organizing tasks. That goes for online poker too and a major percentage of players now use real money poker apps to play.
All operators in Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania offer poker apps as well a traditional desktop or laptop-based downloadable software client. These allow for plenty of player mobility. Michigan can expect the same amount of app options once online poker is live.
Mobile poker apps offer easy-to-use game play features and navigation. Players will find extensive game and tournament options with features specifically designed for phones or tablets.
Players can expect the same level of safety and security on a poker app as well. You can also still sign up, claim any no deposit poker bonus or promotional offer, make additional deposits, and withdraw funds from anywhere. Downloading a poker app is simple and fast.
Can I play on a Michigan poker site from outside the state?
Online poker sites use geolocation software to make sure players are located within that state. According to regulations, you must physically be within the legal jurisdiction to play.
That doesn’t mean you can’t sign up for an account, make a deposit, or withdraw funds from anywhere, however. All of this can be done in other states including, for example, in nearby Illinois, Indiana or Ohio.
Simply sign up and deposit for an account and then be ready to play when you’re in Michigan. It doesn’t matter if you’re a resident of another state for eligibility. You do, of course, need to be of legal age to play as well.
Why choose legal online poker sites?
Players can expect safety and security using a legal US online poker site. Online operators undergo rigorous licensing procedures and regulations just like a land-based casino
The Michigan Gaming Control Board will put standards and procedures in place to protect players and then enforce them appropriately. That includes securing player funds, which are placed into separate secure accounts.
Deposits and cash outs are also extremely safe and use encryption technology to make sure account details are secure. A player can feel safe that his personal information is also kept safe.
Legal online poker sites also offer several customer service options to help players sort out any issues. Those can include:
- Live chat
- By mail
- FAQ section
- Information database or help section
Along with these security and help features, online poker platforms work to provide security among players. Anti-collusion and bot software helps weed out elements that might affect game integrity and fairness.
It’s important to note that offshore poker sites can’t offer this same level of security. They aren’t always regulated and players receive no guarantees that their funds and personal information are safe.
Many of these sites have been known for slow payouts and have even gone under and not paid back players. Players will feel much safer using a regulated US site.
How to Open a New Online Poker Account
While online poker hasn’t gone live yet, players can expect a similar process as in other legal jurisdictions. After downloading the app or poker software, signing up is a fast and easy process. Players will first be asked to input some basic information including:
You may then need to quickly confirm your identity and email. After that you’ll be ready to give the platform a test drive. New players also usually have the opportunity for some great bonuses for signing up and making a deposit.
When ready to make a deposit, there are several options and it’s an easy process. Look for standard industry deposit methods not always available at unregulated sites. Some of those usually include:
- E-check bank payments (ACH transfers)
- Wire payments
- E-wallets such as Neteller
- Cash at partner casinos
Once that’s complete, finding a game is as simple as launching the poker client or app and heading to the lobby. Players will find something for most budgets such as:
- Cash games
- Multi-table tournaments
- Sit and go tournaments
- Jackpot-style tournament events
- Major tournament series
An advantage to playing online is that players will find lower stakes and buy-ins than they might at a casino. You can work on your game without breaking the bank or worrying about being intimidated as you learn.
Players also have the option to play for virtual (play money) currency at most sites. This offers a great way to learn the games and software without risking any money.
Michigan Online Poker History
Michigan is no stranger to live gaming opportunities. There are three full-service casinos in the Detroit area and 23 tribal properties scattered throughout the state. Other legal gambling options include pari-mutuel wagering and the state lottery. The latter may have gotten the online gaming ball rolling.
In 2014, the Michigan Lottery launched an online lottery and by mid-2015 more than 300,000 instant tickets were being sold each day. In April 2016, online gambling proponent and State Senator Mike Kowall introduced SB 889. Entitled “The Lawful Internet Gaming Act,” the bill would have authorized online poker and online casino games in Michigan.
SB889 would have granted up to eight licenses to Michigan-based commercial and tribal casinos. That bill died in committee, but set the stage for making the issue a possibility. Despite former Gov. Rick Snyder’s veto of online gaming in 2018, that vision was reached in 2019 when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation. This moved Michigan into a new era of online gaming and poker.
Michigan Live Poker Rooms
Poker players have several options to bet and bluff to each others’ faces in Michigan. The state boasts more than 15 poker rooms. Here’s a look at a few that stand out:
MGM Grand (Detroit) – 17 tables with plenty of cash games and tournaments in an elegant, high-end environment. MGM is known for great poker rooms at its properties and that includes Michigan.
Motor City Casino (Detroit) – 17 tables with daily tournaments and cash games. Look for generous comps.
Soaring Eagle Casino (Mount Pleasant) – 14 tables and plenty of promotions. The property also offers a large number of games spread.
FireKeepers Casino (Battle Creek) – The 26-table room is newly renovated and offers a great place to play.
Gun Lake Casino (Wayland) – This 14-table western Michigan room receives nice reviews among players. Action heats up on the weekend.
Greektown Casino (Detroit) – 12 tables and another great option for players located in the Detroit area.
Michigan Online Poker FAQ
Which Michigan casinos have online poker site partners?
So far, only The Stars Group (PokerStars) has a partnership with a casino operator. The company entered into a partnership with the Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority in January 2020.
Stars became the first operator to reach a partnership deal to operate online gaming in the state. That would also be expected to include online poker.
While it hasn’t announced anything yet, the MGM Grand Detroit could also be a player. MGM partners with GVC Holdings (partypoker) in New Jersey and is a good bet to enter the Michigan market as well.
This page will be updated as more partnerships are announced.
Can I play on PokerStars in Michigan?
Not yet, but that may be coming soon. Online gaming is expected to go live in 2021 and PokerStars’ parent company has signed a partnership agreement with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority.The company will be able to offer all legal forms of online gaming including poker. PokerStars is the largest online poker operator in the world and currently offers poker in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Can I qualify for the WSOP from Michigan?
Players using WSOP.com in Nevada and New Jersey can currently qualify for the WSOP online. They can even play in exclusive WSOP online bracelet events along with players on WSOP.com partner 888poker in Delaware.
WSOP owner Caesars Entertainment doesn’t own a property in Michigan. That doesn’t mean the company can’t reach an agreement with a partner in the state. In fact, it’s probably a good bet that may happen – at some point.
WSOP.com has been a leader in the US online poker industry. While it hasn’t yet launched in Pennsylvania, that state and Michigan offer opportunities to grow its brand and player footprint. A growing US market only offers more opportunities for both the WSOP as a whole and its online platform.
Do I have to live in Michigan to play online poker in Michigan?
No, players can sign up and even make a deposit from anywhere. However, players must be physically located within the state when playing. Operators will make use of geolocation software to make sure of this.
However, those outside the state who register and deposit can easily play once they’re in the state.
Does Michigan share a player pool with any other states?
As of now there are no immediate plans for a shared player pool through interstate compacts. This could be added at a later date however. Pennsylvania went ahead with online poker in a similar situation – waiting for the legalities involved with the Wire Act to be worked out (see above).
Michigan, along with other high population states with poker player including Florida and Texas, has great promise as a legalized online poker market. An interstate compact with shared liquidity could be in the works down the line. That would make for an even better and secure industry with more growth potential.
Will Michigan allow online casino games?