GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new agreement signed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board has opened new doors and more options for the state’s online poker players.
Executive Director Henry Williams signed the paperwork Monday to add Michigan to the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement. Michigan is the fourth member, joining Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.
In a news release, Williams said the agreement is a big win for poker players and should bring more tax revenue to the state.
“By joining, Michigan will almost double the potential pool of participants in multistate poker games,” Williams stated.
Internet gaming was legalized in Michigan by Gov. Whitmer and the state Legislature in December 2019. Additional bills have since allowed online poker games to cross state lines.
State Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing, was one of the early supporters of legalized online gaming. He said he supported joining the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement.
“Michigan poker players will enjoy more options and will likely play for bigger money when they can compete against players from other states,” Hertel said in a release. “I am glad we were able to make this possible for Michigan poker players.”
Three casino groups are currently approved to offer online poker. Just like online gaming, both the casino group and its platform must meet certain requirements to acquire licenses. The current licensees are MGM Grand Detroit with BetMGM, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians with World Series of Poker and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and PokerStars.
Online gaming continues to bring in big money. Last week, the MGCB announced casinos brought in $163.1 million in revenue in April and a monthly record of $132.4 million in gaming. Sports betting totaled $30.7 million in April.
According to the MGCB, that equals more than $35 million in tax revenue — $25.2 million from gambling platforms, $7.2 million from Detroit’s three casinos and $2.7 million from tribal casinos.
In its first full year, online gaming generated more than $282 million in tax revenue for Michigan. Most of that money goes to the School Aid Fund, which supports the state’s K-12 public schools. The funds also cover the MGCB’s operating costs, plus $2 million going to the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund and $500,000 for the Compulsive Gaming Prevention Fund.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services operates a 24-hour, toll-free helpline for people dealing with a gambling addiction: 1.800.270.7117. The MGCB also offers self-exclusion program for Michigan casinos and online platforms. Forms and details are available at the MGCB website.