Michigan Considers Interstate Player Pools in iGaming Bill
As Michigan lawmakers accelerate efforts to legalize online gaming, interstate player pools for poker have become an important element of the legislation. “I can’t imagine anyone’s opposed to this,” says state Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr. (l.), one of the bill’s sponsors.
Michigan lawmakers are pushing to add a provision for interstate player pools to fast-track legislation to legalize online gaming in the state. State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr., one of the Democratic sponsors of the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, is contemplating a bill that will clarify the original legislation to specify that online poker can include multi-state player pools.
According to a report on the news site MIbets.com, Hertel is proposing language for the amendment or bill that reads:
“The Michigan Gaming Control Board may enter into agreements with other jurisdictions, including Indian tribes, to facilitate, administer, and regulate multijurisdictional internet gaming for poker by internet gaming operators to the extent that entering into the agreement is consistent with state and federal laws and if the internet gaming under the agreement is conducted only in the United States.”
Currently, among states with legal iGaming, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware pool players to increase liquidity. Pennsylvania does not participate in the pool. Hertel wants Michigan to tap into those pools.
“I believe (the absence of internet pools in the iGaming bill) was an unintentional problem that was created by an oversight in the drafting and negotiating process,” Hertel told MI Bets. “I don’t think it was intended by anybody, so it should be an easy fix.
“I can’t imagine anyone’s opposed to this. There were certainly issues that were raised about slot machines with large out-of-state pools and how they could compete with the lottery. Those concerns were voiced during the process. But the concerns did not include worries about poker being played across state lines.
“If you said Michigan players can only play poker with other people from Michigan, you really would limit the ability of people to find games,” Hertel noted. “You don’t need multiple people to play blackjack online. You don’t need multiple people to play slot machines online. But if you’re trying to get a poker game, you need people that want to play the same game and same limits, and you’re already dividing them among different platforms, so it really does become very limiting. And there’s absolutely no policy reason to limit it.”