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Michigan interstate online poker bill clears Senate


A bill that would allow interstate online poker in Michigan has cleared the state’s Senate and will now move forward to the House of Representatives.

Introduced in June by Senator Curtis Hertel Jr, Senate Bill 0991 comfortably passed the Senate, after it was approved by a vote of 36-1, with one excused.

The bill yesterday (October 1) progressed forward to the state’s House, where it currently sits with the Committee on Regulatory Reform.

SB0991 would allow consumers in Michigan would be able to compete against players in other regulated states across the US.

Should the bill pass into law, it would act as amendment to the Michigan Lawful Internet Gaming Act, which signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in December last year, allows the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to issue licenses for online and mobile casino games.

Though the bill does not set out specific regulations for interstate online poker, it does include language that would allow the MGCB to strike agreements with other jurisdictions to establish interstate games.

“The board may enter into agreements with other jurisdictions, including Indian tribes, to facilitate, administer, and regulate multijurisdictional internet gaming for poker,” the bill said.

SB0991 also sets out a clear definition of poker as the “traditional game of poker, and any derivative of the game of poker” as approved by the MGCB.

The state regulator is currently working towards the launch of its online gambling market.

Last month it took a step closer to the roll-out, after the MGCB submitted proposed regulations for online gambling and betting to the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules and the Legislative Service Bureau for final review.

Michigan had hoped to open its igaming market early next year, but the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic prompted efforts to accelerate the process, following disruption to the state’s land-based gaming sector.

The state opened its licensing process in July, while legal retail betting was rolled out in March.