Online poker has evolved exceptionally since its launch in 2013. Currently, the only states operating real-money online poker are Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Will West Virginia Finally Join?
Most of the states where online poker is legal are members of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement or MSIGA. The MSIGA is a regulated agreement that allows poker players in one state to compete with players in another state online. There has been much speculation over what state will be the next to offer online poker and join the MSIGA. With online poker already being legal in West Virginia, we may see development in this state very soon.
David Bradley, Deputy Director for Security at the West Virginia Lottery has been reported multiple times discussing the state’s representatives’ interest in the agreement. “We’ve had discussions here at the Lottery, and at the appropriate time, we will make an application to join the compact … If one of our operators came to us and said they wanted to offer multi-state poker, I’m sure we [would consider it],” he said.
One reason why operators might be cautious about expressing interest in adding online poker to their offerings could be because of WV’s pool size. The state’s population size ranks number 40 in the country, making its eligible players even smaller. Operators would be understandably more open to moving forward with online poker if WV had a wider player pool through the MSIGA.
Another possible reason the state has not made the expansion to online poker a critical move is that they are unsure of how lucrative it will be in the state. Sports betting and online casino gaming have proved profitable, so WV operators put most of their efforts toward that.
When the time does come, West Virginia has many operators that could ask to join the MSIGA. BetMGM and Caesars already have ties with the MSIGA in other states, so they could have the strongest potential to take this step.
MI & NJ Pool Merger
A message posted by PokerStars has poker fans curious if the company is going to launch its highly anticipated United States multi-state online poker network. The update suggested players “Keep an eye out for more exciting US news coming soon.” This advancement could finally integrate the PokerStars NJ player pool with that of PokerStars MI.
Despite Michigan becoming a member of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement in May, operators were not allowed to roll out its multi-state poker games yet due to certain guidelines.
Historically, it has taken states a while to receive full authorization to join multi-state poker agreements. It took the World Series of Poker seven months to add New Jersey to its Nevada & Delaware shared pool. WSOP is currently the only operator that is experiencing shared liquidity between states for online poker. As of right now, it doesn’t look like WSOP will be adding Michigan to that pool in 2022.
PokerStars could be the first to finally reach the end of the finish line in the Great Lakes State, allowing for the potential for other MI operators to follow suit. This could be the start of tremendous growth for online real-money poker in Michigan. While we cannot be sure of the timing, the poker community is expecting the formal announcement to come this month.
Mac Daniel is a Michigan native and freelance writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: playonlinemichigan.com