PokerStars launches online poker in Michigan; FoxBet sports betting also approved

Legal online poker is now live in Michigan.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board announced Friday that it authorized Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians and platform providers PokerStars for online gaming and FoxBet for online sports betting to launch at 11 a.m.

PokerStars is the first operator in Michigan to offer peer-to-peer poker games online, MGCB executive director Richard Kalm said. Michiganders are only permitted to play against others within state lines, although interstate play is expected to be approved later this year, according to the MGCB.

Michigan is the fifth state to allow real money poker games.

FoxBet is the 11th online sportsbook approved in Michigan after 10 launched Jan. 22. Meanwhile, there are now 10 authorized online casinos after the MGCB approved PokerStars and Barstool’s online casino Friday. Barstool’s sportsbook launched last Friday.

FoxBet is offering a free $100 in site credit after making a first deposit (minimum $10).

“The key differentiators for us have always been our valued partnership with the FOX Corporation and the strength of our industry leading FOX Bet Super 6 product combined with the PokerStars business, and we plan to lean into these unique assets as we launch in Michigan,” FOX Bet CEO Kip Levin said in a release. “Behind FOX Bet Sportsbook, PokerStars and Stars Casino, customers create one account for all three apps, unlocking a wide variety of exciting and entertaining options to supercharge the experience for our Michigan audience.”

RELATED: What to know as online gaming, sports betting becomes legal in Michigan

Online gaming and sports betting are expected to be an avenue for Michigan casinos to make up for substantial losses incurred in 2020 while also generating millions in tax revenue for the state.

By most accounts, online gaming is off to a booming start.

Michigan and Virginia both launched online gambling late last week and combined for 7.5 million online gambling transactions across 400,000 accounts, according to data from GeoComply, which provides geolocation tracking services for the internet gaming industry.

RELATED: Online gaming, sports betting off to roaring start in Michigan

Michigan and Virginia accounted for 25 percent of the overall volume last weekend across the U.S. market, which encompasses 17 states with legal online betting.

“Based on what I’ve seen so far in terms of anecdotal evidence and just in general, I would say that it’s probably gone as well as you can hope,” Chris Altruda, a national sports betting industry analyst for MiBets.com, told MLive.

“There were no real reports of any outages — maybe some lag here and there — but nothing overly out of the norm in that regard. And also you had a great weekend for an opening. You had the conference championship games and you had the added bonus of a high-profile UFC fight (Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor). So all in all, with the exception of maybe starting on Super Bowl Friday or the first round of the NCAA Tournament, you’re not going to get a much better opening slot.”

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