PokerStars USA Prepares to Connect MI and NJ
It’s been a long time coming. In fact, for the majority of this year, online poker sites in the restricted American states markets have been working to connect their sites across state lines. Specifically, Michigan joined the multi-state agreement in May, creating a legal pathway for online poker sites operating in Michigan to join sister sites in New Jersey.
Several poker sites are likely in preparations to do so, but PokerStars is the only one that is actively and publicly doing so. BetMGM/partypoker and WSOP/888 sites have said nothing about the connection and when it might happen.
MSIGA Taking Shape
The Multi-State Internet Gaming Association is the official agreement that connects online poker sites across state lines in America.
As it stands, without a federal law in place to legalize and regulate online poker, each state must do so within their own borders. This includes geolocation protections that require players to be located in that state – and that state only – to play on the licensed sites in said state.
MSIGA is the legal method by which that can change. In 2017, the governors of New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware signed the agreement. However, only one site operated in all three states; WSOP/888 is the only one operating in Delaware and Nevada. Other sites had to wait for Pennsylvania, Michigan, Connecticut, or West Virginia to sign MSIGA.
Pennsylvania launched online poker in 2019 but has yet to sign MSIGA. Michigan launched its online poker industry in early 2021.
Michigan was the only one of the two to sign MSIGA, and it did so earlier this year.
Michigan joins the MSIGA pic.twitter.com/GFBB9jCRFT
— Kevin Mathers (@Kevmath) April 6, 2022
A Difficult Process
In the spring of this year, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) announced its signing of MSIGA. That opened the door for three of the largest poker sites to expand:
-BetMGM/partypoker via MGM Grand Detroit
-WSOP/888poker via Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
-PokerStars via Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
As mentioned, WSOP/888 is the only one with sites in Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey that can now connect to Michigan. The NJ poker sites available to link to those Michigan sites are:
-BetMGM/partypoker via Borgata Casino
-WSOP/888poker via Caesars Boardwalk
-PokerStars via Resorts Casino
One might think that WSOP/888 would have the easiest time orchestrating the connection, as the site has done so twice before. Other sites would be doing it for the first time and might need some time to figure out the technological and legal aspects of the link.
PokerStars Takes the Lead
While two online poker operators have said nothing about a potential timeline for linking Michigan, PokerStars made an interesting announcement on December 9.
🚨 Attention MI and NJ players 🚨
Please plan accordingly. pic.twitter.com/E07Cmyv2mh
— PokerStarsUSA (@PokerStarsUSA) December 9, 2022
PokerStars USA shut down the Michigan and New Jersey sites for two days this week to prepare for the connection. While the players are not yet sharing a player pool, they are sharing some promotions. PokerStars is running identical Holiday Cash Game Happy Hours on both PokerStars MI and PokerStars NJ through December 23.
The holdup is likely the numerous regulatory approvals necessary from both states at every step of the process.
If the PokerStars MI/NJ connection doesn’t happen before the end of the year, it will most likely launch in the first week of January.