The tribe, which runs Odawa Casino in Petoskey, partnered with PokerStars to operate online poker in Michigan. With the Michigan Gaming Control Board officially giving them an online license, PokerStars launched its Michigan platform at 11 a.m., according to a report from The Detroit News.
Along with the tribe, the board awarded licenses to Detroit’s Greektown Casino, which partnered with Penn Gaming’s Barstool Sportsbook & Casino to offer online gambling. Fox Bet, PokerStars’ sports betting platform, also launched with the license given to the Odawa Indians.
Michigan’s online gambling market launched last week, but the operators who received licenses did not have an online poker platform or a partner with one, leaving the initial launch reserved for other online casino games and sports betting.
PokerStars is the only operator in Michigan so far. BetMGM Poker, which has an obvious partnership with the MGM Detroit, could be the second to launch.
PokerStars now has operations in New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania. With the recent ruling on the Wire Act, which allowed for most forms of interstate online gambling, and Gov. Whitmer signing a bill that would allow for online operators to join shared player pools, it opens a very real possibility for Stars to combine its player pools in all three states.
That law has not gone into effect yet, however, and would also need an agreement from the other states involved before it is launched.
Pennsylvania regulators were reportedly awaiting a ruling on the Wire Act before allowing operators from its state to join shared player pools. Some media outlets have reported that Michigan regulators are already in talks with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and could see a compact between the states by the end of 2021.
Kevin Mathers, the information coordinator for PokerAtlas, tweeted screenshots of the site’s platform shortly after the initial launch.
An early look at action on PokerStars Michigan, courtesy of @Bishop847 pic.twitter.com/6WYx8CNM8C
— Kevin Mathers (@Kevmath) January 29, 2021
About an hour after its rollout, there were no-limit hold’em cash games running at the $.01-$.02, $.25-$.50 and $.50-$1 stakes. Tables were available all the way up to $25-$50, but nobody was sitting. There were also several tournaments scheduled for the first day of operation, with buy-ins ranging from $3 to $30.