MICHIGAN INTRODUCES ONLINE POKER BILL

MICHIGAN INTRODUCES ONLINE POKER BILL

An online casino bill was put forward in Michigan this week, as the state joins the likes of Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, California and Hawaii in considering online poker regulation in 2017.

Last year’s efforts in Michigan went down to the wire. The legislation was alive as of December, but lawmakers were unsuccessful in pushing the bill across the finish line before time ran out.

In June 2016, Michigan’s Senate Regulatory Reform Committee signed off on the proposed bill, but the full Senate vote never took place. According to the Poker Players Alliance, a committee hearing on this year’s legislation is to be planned for next week.

Michigan’s land-based gambling market is roughly $3 billion between the two dozen tribal and commercial casinos. Michigan has eyed online casino games for the past four years. The state decided to have an online lottery, starting those games in 2014.

Three Detroit casinos won $1.39 billion last year, but it was just 0.7 percent better than 2015. Those casinos finished the year with a 6.8 percent gaming win decline in December 2016.

According to the bill, online casinos licensed by the state of Michigan must provide poker. In other words, a site could not skip poker and offer only online slots and other table games.

If the bill is passed, Michigan would become the first state to regulate online poker since 2013. Currently, only New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have online poker. New Jersey holds the lion’s share of that market with roughly $30 million in online poker revenue last year.

Presently, Pennsylvania and New York are considered the prime candidates for online poker this year.