Michigan-New Jersey PokerStars Integration Excites Players

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A Michigan-New Jersey PokerStars player pool integration is underway, the Flutter Entertainment-owned online poker site announced at noon today. A @PokerStarsUSA tweet and player emails confirmed PokerStars is adding Michigan bettors into the multi-state poker fold.

Gamblers in Michigan and New Jersey received an email today from PokerStars telling them:

Site maintenance occurring December 12th and 13th to bring Michigan and New Jersey poker players together in the coming weeks.

Despite great hopes among Pennsylvania online poker players, they didn’t receive the same email. (This Bonus reporter lives in Philadelphia and is on the app.)

Michigan-New Jersey PokerStars Link Now Possible

A few factors had to come together before PokerStars could link its Michigan and New Jersey online poker player pools.

First, Michigan had to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) pursued entry for more than a year, but MSIGA was the entity announcing the Wolverine State’s admission on April 6.

Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey were already part of MSIGA.

Second, a significant barrier evaporated on Sept. 15. That’s when the US District Court District of Rhode Island sided with US online casino and poker operators and vendors regarding a 2018 interpretation of the Wire Act. Until then, the iGaming industry was worried about prosecution if it transmitted data across state lines.

Third, online poker sites had to offer the option to gamblers.

That’s why it appears a Michigan-New Jersey PokerStars link may even be a first multi-state pool for Michigan players.

Until now, only WSOP had been offering multi-state player pools, but still hasn’t added Michigan. The state’s top operator, BetMGM Poker, hasn’t yet created multi-state player pools. Rush Street Interactive (RSI) still hasn’t launched the poker brand it acquired, Run It Once Poker (ROI), which could also perhaps become one of its BetRivers apps.

So Who Cares About Multi-State Poker?

Online poker may be a niche interest, but it’s an understatement to say its fans are passionate.

On Twitter, the discussion began immediately about the Michigan-New Jersey PokerStars player pool.

At 1:49 p.m. today, @SifferBTW of Detroit tweeted:

I was initially excited, but then I saw NJ traffic is 1/3 of Michigan. Likely won’t see much difference at the cash tables.

@Fight4Poker1 replied:

Short term difference won’t be huge, but long term, this is great news! Incentivizes PA to join merge, and get the other 2 states that have passed poker bills, to finally launch, and merge as well.

More states = more rake for PS = more advertising $ = more, and more, and more.

@SifferBTW replied:

Yeh def better long term, but initially I don’ think it will be much different. Maybe a couple months of rejuvenation

Alex WeldonBonus poker guru and casino managing news editor – wrote on April 6 when Michigan entered MSIGA:

There’s no online gambling vertical more impacted by market size than online poker. Having access to twice as many potential players usually means an online casino or sportsbook will do twice as much business, but the effect for poker is much greater. Without enough players at the tables, games dry up, so operators in smaller markets have a hard time offering a wide variety of formats and stake levels. Tournament guarantees also get larger the bigger the market is.

What all that means is that more traffic is itself a selling point for poker rooms. That’s a problem for the nascent US online poker market, where gambling legislation happens state-by-state. For smaller states in particular, it can make online poker an impossibility; even if they legalize it, they may not have the population necessary to make it worthwhile for a site to launch.

So gamblers didn’t seem too upset that PokerStars, PokerStars Casino, and FoxBet Sportsbook will be down from Dec. 12 to 13 in Michigan and New Jersey for “a major upgrade,” according to the PokerStars email @Gags30poker tweeted at 12:37 p.m. today.

The email reads:

The upgrade is a necessary milestone to bring you more games, bigger prize pools, and guarantees in poker tournaments so New Jersey and Michigan poker players can compete against one another in the near future.

So nearly two years after the Michigan online gambling marketplace launched, it appears the first online poker site will allow the state’s gamblers to compete across state lines. It seems as though the Michigan-New Jersey PokerStars players are ready now.

About the Author
Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is the lead writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She had her first published byline at age 10, but didn't get paid for her writing until she got her first newspaper job. Fletcher's newspaper career started at Suburban News Publications in Ohio and eventually took her to The New York Times, where she's still a contract freelance reporter for the National Desk. She covers breaking news from Philadelphia, as needed. In March 2021, Fletcher began writing about online casino gambling as the lead writer for Online Poker Report.

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