There are currently six states that have legalized online poker, a market that has been booming in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused the demand for live poker to drop. But only four states, Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, have infrastructures up and running for consumers.
That could change in 2021 as the Michigan Gaming Control Board began accepting applications for online gaming licenses last week.
In a press release announcing the step forward, Richard Kalm, executive director of the MGCB, said that all forms of internet gambling, including poker, could be up and running in less than 12 months as regulators finalize the laws surrounding the new industry.
“We continue to make progress on rule promulgation for internet gaming and online sports betting,” said Kalm. “While we expect to launch these forms of betting by early 2021, we hope it can happen sooner.”
Obtaining a license will cost operators a $50,000 application fee, a $100,000 initial licensing fee and a $50,000 annual renewal fee. Only the three commercial casinos in Detroit or the 23 tribal casinos throughout the state will be allowed to apply for a license.
Those operators will be allowed to have two separate brands for its online gaming venture, meaning that a partnership can be formed between a major online poker operator, like 888 or PokerStars, and a brick-and-mortar casino to operate its online poker room.
West Virginia is the only other state to have legalized online poker, but yet to roll out a product. Earlier this month, the West Virginia Lottery Commission approved an emergency set of rules that could allow The Mountain State to launch online poker by the summer.
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