Michigan lies around the Great Lakes region of the Upper Midwestern in the United States. Blessed with unspoiled nature, the nation’s longest freshwater coastline harbors a population of nearly 10.12 million people.
Michigan legalized the lottery in 1972, making them one of the first U.S. states to do so. The action boosted state revenue and pressured Native Americans to create a regulated tribal and casino market in the 1980s.
Michigan lottery sales and jackpots are among the highest in the United States, and there is motivation to pass the legislation to legalize online poker. This is good news if you are a resident of Michigan who loves online poker. But the question remains: Is it legal to play poker in Michigan?
In this extensive review, we’d be answering this question and discussing everything you need to know to play poker online in Michigan. We’ll also cover its current legal state along with the best online poker sites to get started on.
Let’s dive into it.
Poker Sites We Recommend
History of Michigan Poker
The quest to solve long-term economic problems in the early 1980s led several Michigan Native American tribes to seek tribal revenue by opening large-scale bingo operations. However, every form of virtual gaming was banned. In Michigan, the state only permitted a state lottery
In the early 1980s, casino gambling was illegal in Michigan, as it was in every other state except Nevada. Eventually, certain tribal members began to challenge the state’s right to regulate casino gambling, stating that it would be a good source of revenue for the state.
The first casino, The Pines, was opened in 1984 by Fred Dakot. It consisted of a lone blackjack table in his two-car garage. Following this action, several tribal members opened various state-sanctioned casinos.
While these early casinos existed in the shadows of the state law, the United States Supreme Court eventually passed the bill in 1987 that Indian Nations had a broad right to engage in gaming activities in Michigan. Poker has since been in existence and is currently played in over twenty casinos in the state.
Michigan Legal Online Poker
If you keep wondering “Can I play online Poker in Michigan?” Well, lucky you – because yes, you can. But while gambling has been legal since 1997 in Michigan, online poker sites were frowned upon.
It wasn’t until 2019 that the new Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, expressed her support for legalizing online gambling and online poker sites in Michigan. In December 2019, Governor Whitmer signed the bill into law, and PokerStars became the first official casino to launch a regulated online poker site in Michigan.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board Executive then signed an agreement to allow internet poker players in Michigan to compete against players in Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada. The bill, signed HB 4311 – the Lawful Internet Gaming Act – came into law in December 2019. This positioned Michigan State as a serious contender for market leader in the industry.
The Governor then created a board — The Michigan Gaming Control Board – to be responsible for licensing online gambling sites. Online casinos must partner with Michigan’s land-based casinos to receive a license. They must also pay an application fee ranging from $50,000 to $100,000.
It’s also imperative to note that offshore sites from foreign areas are available to Michigan residents. However, these are illegal and offer no safety to players who opt for them. You must be at least 21 years old to legally gamble online in Michigan.
Gambling Laws in Michigan
There are extensive laws for gambling in Michigan. These laws cover basics like accepting money or valuables from games, contests, or races. Usually, gambling that fails to contribute to essential state services is illegal. However, Michigan gambling laws also promote the act of betting on horse racing on licensed tracks and gambling on Native American land.
In addition, bingo, minor bets performed at bowling alleys, and other types of minor gambling are permitted in Michigan. Michigan gambling is regulated by the Michigan Penal Code Chapter 750, sections 301 through 315a, and the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act (MGCRA) (Michigan Compiled Laws Chapter 432).
Michigan Legal Gambling History
The history of legal gambling in Michigan began in 1933 when lawmakers legalized betting on horse races. It was after this that gambling became popular in Michigan.
Today, the state boasts twenty-six licensed casinos operating over 30,000 slot machines.
The numerous tribal and commercial casinos give the gambling industry good leverage over state casinos. However, section 432 of the Michigan statute makes it illegal to offer gambling services without a license and punishes casinos that go against the rule.
Once HB 4311 was signed into law in December 2019, every gaming industry in Michigan was legalized. Players and gamblers can legally make bets or play for real money at online poker rooms and licensed casinos.
You don’t need to be a resident of Michigan to bet online – but you must be physically present inside the state when playing games, wagers, or purchasing tickets for money. All the online betting sites use geolocation technology so they can easily find your location by tracking the GPS on your mobile device. They won’t grant access to these sites to place wagers if you’re not in Michigan.
In January 2010, the Governor issued Executive Order 45. This authorized all the functions of the Office of Racing Commissioner to the Executive Director of the MGCB. Native American tribes are sovereign nations. The State of Michigan does not have general regulatory authority over tribal casinos. Tribal casinos are regulated by the National Indian Gaming Commission and the government of the appropriate tribal community.
Who Regulates Online Poker in Michigan?
The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) is the government agency in charge of enforcing all gambling and online poker laws in the state. It also oversees giving licenses to experienced casino operators and regulating the gambling laws. Before the advent of online poker, Michigan gambling was regulated by the Michigan Penal Code Chapter and the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act (MGCRA).
In addition to federal taxes, online poker is subject to state taxes on profits. However, casinos in Detroit are only subject to city tax. The Michigan Gaming Control Board has proposed several measures concerning gaming:
- To provide for the licensing, regulation, and control of casino gaming operations, distributors, and manufacturers of gaming appliances and gaming-related equipment and supplies, and persons who participate in gaming.
- To distribute casino gaming revenue for public safety, education, and the development of the economy.
- To authorize only limited casino operations in Michigan state.
- To vest authority for necessary licensing, regulation, and control of gaming in casinos and in the Michigan board that controls gaming.
- To restrict political involvement in gaming.
- To establish a code of ethics for certain persons involved in gaming.
- To impose and authorize certain taxes and fees on casino owners.
They also coordinate with all Native tribes to ensure continuous maintenance of interests between them.
First Online Poker Casino in Michigan
On January 29, 2021, PokerStars was approved to go live with online poker in Michigan, making them the first casino operator to receive regulatory approval in the state. Michigan was the fifth state in the United States to regulate online poker.
PokerStars, which launched on September 11, 2001 in the Isle of Man. The company launched the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) in 2002. This has blossomed to be one of the leading online tournaments around the globe.
Today, PokerStars has over 50 million registered customers and an average of over 25,000 new players added to the site daily. PokerStars boasts over 250 players on average playing at the cash game tables around the clock. It also draws in hundreds more participating in online poker tournaments.
PokerStars ruled the Michigan online poker scene for a while. However, other online casinos have risen, and this can only mean one thing — more competition for PokerStars.
Online Poker Sweepstake Casinos in Michigan
Sweepstake casinos operate using exclusive dual-currency methods. They provide opportunities to enjoy games for fun, rather than use actual money. Unlike normal casinos, where you can deposit your money and withdraw your winnings, a sweepstake casino prevents you from using cash directly. This makes them legal in most US states, including Michigan.
In the sweepstake model, prizes are shared among players and using normal currency isn’t allowed. Simply put, there are some virtual currencies you use instead of using cash. There are two types of coins to use at sweepstakes casinos – the gold coin and the sweep coin. Players can purchase gold coins to play games in gold coin mode. These gold coins can also be used to play casino games. Players cannot trade, transfer, or redeem these coins for cash prizes or wins.
Players can get Sweep coins for free as a bonus when they purchase gold coins. They can also get them through Alternative Methods of Entry (AMOE) – sending for them by mail. Players can use Sweep coins to play casino games in the popular Sweep coins mode, and Sweep coins that are won from these games can be converted to cash prizes.
These casinos are legal in Michigan, and you can play slots, table games, keno, and more. Michigan law does not define the term sweepstakes. However, by common definition, sweepstakes are advertising or promotional devices by which items of value are awarded to participating consumers by chance, with no purchase or entry fee required in order to win. Otherwise, they may be considered a lottery.
How Sweepstake Poker Casinos Operate in Michigan
Sweepstake poker casinos are also referred to as social casinos because players can get free coins after creating their accounts.
Top Sweepstake Casinos for Online Poker in Michigan
Michigan players who enjoy casino gaming can sign up on many sweepstakes casino sites to play. Most of these casinos focus on slots, but there are several social casinos to enjoy poker online in Michigan. Here are four of the top sites where you can play legal online poker in Michigan.
Global Poker has grown into one of the biggest poker rooms in the United States, using the same sweepstakes model as many other casinos. You do not need to download any software before playing and can play your poker games directly from a web browser. Global Poker is only available in the United States.
The Global Poker website offers a broad range of fun and exciting social games, including traditional poker games and table games. The sweepstake casino is available in every US state aside from Washington. Poker isn’t the only game players can find at the Global Poker casino. It also features slots and numerous other games.
Chumba Casino, Michigan
Chumba Casino offers brick-and-mortar casino slots, many of which feature progressive jackpots.
They’re one of the social casinos present in Michigan and other states. This casino supports a wide range of payment methods like credit cards and online transfers.
Once at the casino, you can see the prizes players are able to win with Gold or Sweep Coins. There are myriad slot games available with major, minor, and mini jackpots. In addition to slot games, you can opt for video poker, table games, or jackpots.
To register and play in this casino, you must be in the Michigan area as the casino uses geolocation features.
Pulsz Casino in Michigan
Pulsz casino offers nearly 300 slots and other popular online casino table games. They also offer plenty of sweepstake games, including slot titles powered by top developers. They give players the chance to win real money through instant sweepstake coins.
Pulsz casino also offers a plethora of daily bonuses and free coins. The minimum amount needed to withdraw a cash prize is 50 sweepstake coins, equivalent to $1.
There are many ways to collect sweepstake coins, including:
- Creating an account
- Daily logins
- Referring friends
- Social media contests
- Purchasing Gold Coin packages worth $5 and more
Funzpoints Casino in Michigan
Funzpoints is among the newest sweepstakes casinos to enter the Michigan casino marketplace. While it focuses mainly on slots, it also offers poker games.
The casino is open for free play or real-money play to players aged 18 and older. In this casino, you can find exclusive welcome bonuses and can enter a “fun zone” with additional prizes after a certain number of wins.
Funzpoints uses two alternative currencies called standard Funzpoints and premium Funzpoints rather than the gold coins and sweep coins used in other casinos. With standard coins you can play a selection of casino games for free, while the premium coins let you win real money.
Each time you load the site, you are offered a spin of a bonus wheel that will award you additional points, and a timer shows you that you can spin this wheel every three hours. While there are no jackpot slots at this site, there is a jackpot draw offered to players daily.
Is Playing on Offshore Poker Casinos Safe?
Offshore casinos aren’t located in the United States. Instead, they might follow international gambling regulations or hold no license at all. They aren’t required to adhere to any state’s gambling regulations.
Most players in Michigan can easily access offshore casinos. However, these sites are not totally reliable and trustworthy, unlike licensed casinos.
Therefore, it’s crucial to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both casino types before opting for any. There’s no guarantee that players will get help if they need it in these casinos. Aside from that, there is a high risk of losing private data to these unlicensed casinos.
How to Select the Best Real-money Poker Sites in Michigan
When looking for good poker sites in Michigan, it’s imperative to properly evaluate certain features. Here are some of the factors you should consider when selecting the best real money poker sites in Michigan.
Licensed Poker Rooms
To avoid all kinds of trouble, make sure that the poker room you choose is properly licensed. This is the most important thing to look out for when choosing an online casino.
To check the license of any poker room, ensure you check every poker room’s homepage. All licensed casinos have their regulator names written below. You can also confirm by doing research online.
Legitimacy and Security
It’s imperative to confirm whether a poker site is legit before opting for it.
First, you want to ensure that your details are safe with these casinos and ensure you are safe from unfair games. A good way to confirm a casino site’s legitimacy is by reading reviews from previous customers and friends.
This way, you can rest assured that you’re safe to play any poker game you want. Also, look out for websites with good SSL encryption systems to keep your personal information safe.
Bonuses and Promotions
Real-money online poker sites offer a variety of bonuses and promotions to their customers. Some of these include welcome bonuses, daily reload bonuses, and weekly bonuses. The best online casinos offer extras like free slot spins and other giveaways on top of the cash amount.
However, you might need to wager certain funds before converting your multiple bonuses into money. Wagering requirements refer to the amount of money you need to bet before you can convert bonus funds into real money. Usually, they range between 20 and 50 times the value of your initial deposit. Ideally, you should go for those with lower options to get the best returns for your deposit.
Before opting for these bonuses, ensure you check the required conditions and follow them.
Diverse Banking Options
One of the most important things to look out for when gambling is the various banking options.
Ensure that the poker sites you opt for have different modes of payment available such asbank cards, online wallets, and Paysafecard.
Best Payment Methods for Michigan Legal Online Poker Sites
There’s an array of payment options that players can choose from when playing at poker sites. Let’s dive into it.
Cryptocurrency has recently become a regular payment option for gamblers. The swift deposit and withdrawal processing and high security have become a plus for gamblers who are looking to secure their money.
There are several crypto coins available for use, including Bitcoin, Tether, and Ethereum.
This is yet another fast and reliable banking method you can use if you don’t want to use cryptos. Some examples of the renowned e-wallets used are Ecopayz, Skrill, and Neteller.
Here, all you need is your bank credit or debit card and the necessary details. However, transactions might take over 24 hours, depending on your bank and how long your payment is being processed.
Legal Online Poker Tournaments in Michigan
As mentioned earlier, Michigan is home to numerous poker tournaments. If you want to get involved, here are some of the options we recommend.
World Series of Poker Tournaments
World Series of Poker runs real money tournaments regularly for Omaha and no-limit hold ‘em players. Like other poker games, they occur on weekends and offer big prizes.
Players get to enter tournaments depending on the number of players, the speed at which they play, blinds, and many other fun twists. One of the numerous advantages of playing games on the app provided by the World Series Of Poker is that you’d be connected to the WSOP and can officially win bracelets or even seats at the Las Vegas main event.
Bet MGM Poker Tournaments
The type of tournament BetMGM poker features includes more than seventy tournaments daily. This series runs monthly and offers one of the most enticing prize pools players can find.
PokerStars Michigan offers Michigan-only versions of its popular championship of online poker tournament series. It also features regular tournaments with about fifty events daily.
FAQ about Michigan Online Poker
Can you play online poker in Michigan?
Yes, you’re allowed to play online poker in Michigan if you’re over 18 and in the jurisdiction.
Can you play poker online for money in Michigan?
Yes, it is legal to play Poker online for money in Michigan.
Is poker legal in Michigan?
Poker is very much legal in Michigan. The state legalized online poker, gambling, and sports betting in 2019.
Are there online poker sites in Michigan?
Yes. Depending on your choice, there are many online poker sites to choose from when playing online poker in Michigan.
Is it illegal to play poker on offshore poker sites?
While there’s no law that outright bans playing online Poker on offshore poker sites, we advise that players opt for licensed casinos for safety reasons.