PokerStars, BetMGM getting some competition
Michigan is about to get its third online poker room, as Caesars has confirmed that WSOP.com will launch in the Wolverine State on Monday, March 28 at 10am. Originally reported by Online Poker Report and PlayMichigan, WSOP.com becomes the first new online poker room in the state in a year.
thanks to Caesars’ acquisition of UK betting giant William Hill
WSOP.com’s entry into Michigan comes largely thanks to Caesars’ acquisition of UK betting giant William Hill last year. Caesars was really after William Hill’s US-based business, eventually selling the non-US assets to 888 Holdings. Just over two years ago, in February 2020, William Hill partnered with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians to gain market access in Michigan. That partnership transferred to Caesars upon the William Hill purchase.
The company already operates Caesars Sportsbook & Casino in Michigan, so now it is finally time for online poker under the well-known WSOP.com brand. WSOP.com follows PokerStars, which went live on January 29, 2021, one week after online gambling launched in the state, and BetMGM, which flipped the switch on March 22, 2021.
Interstate poker hopefully up next
It is fantastic for Michiganders that they will have a third poker option, and a well-established one at that, but the big question now is when will they be able to play at tables with people from other states? The answer: we’re not sure, but probably quite soon.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) published a document last week that outlines the “potential tasks and considerations for operators and platform providers” in order to operate in a multistate online poker network. It also told PlayMichigan that it is simply waiting for Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada – the three states that are part of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) – to give Michigan the green light to join them.
“We have not received notification from the current compact states regarding our application’s status,” MGCB communications specialist Mary Kay Bean said.
the only legal, regulated online poker room in the United States that is part of a multistate network
Currently, WSOP.com is the only legal, regulated online poker room in the United States that is part of a multistate network. Its sites in New Jersey and Nevada are linked via MSIGA and 888, WSOP.com’s platform provider, powers the three online poker rooms in Delaware, which share liquidity with WSOP.com. Adding Michigan to the mix could nearly double WSOP/888’s US traffic – the network’s seven-day moving average is 220 cash game players, according to PokerScout, while PokerStars has 170 players in Michigan and BetMGM has 85.
Michigan joining the interstate compact would also be a boon to PokerStars and BetMGM. Both have sites in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, in addition to Michigan, but none of the states are currently in a compact with the others. Adding Michigan to MSIGA would not only expand the WSOP/888 network, but would also create two more interstate networks.
World Series of Poker qualifiers
Though PokerStars and BetMGM already have the first (and second) mover advantage on Caesars, the big differentiator for WSOP.com at the outset may be its qualifiers for the World Series of Poker this summer at Bally’s (soon to be Horseshoe) and Paris Las Vegas. WSOP.com is the actually the only site that can offer such satellites, so Michiganders who want to try to get into the WSOP Main Event or other tournaments on the cheap will look toward WSOP.com.
WSOP.com in Michigan will also host a WSOP Online Circuit stop April 20 – May 1, giving players the opportunity to claim gold rings and a share of the $350,000 in total guarantees.
The highlight tournament on Michigan’s WSOP.com at the outset will be its $100 buy-in Sunday event with a $50,000 guarantee. The guarantee is bigger than the Sunday headliners at either of its in-state competitors, and of those, BetMGM’s has a $215 buy-in.