Michigan lawmakers are considering a new bill regulated online poker bill that comes with a decidedly international, and open minded approach to online gambling.

If passed into law, SB 889, the Lawful Internet Gaming Act would set a framework for regulated online poker operators to set up shop in Michigan.

The bill also allows the state to enter into online gambling compacts with other entities, both domestic and international. That’s a big leap for a US state government, but it’s also a very smart, strategic move.

By opening itself up to international poker markets, the state of Michigan could well avoid the biggest problem facing regulated US online poker, a lack of liquidity. Player pools in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada are nowhere near what supporters were expecting. European players pools are, by contrast, relatively robust.

SB 889 is also noteworthy for its relatively progressive (for a US government) approach to online gambling as a whole. The bill’s text notes that internet gambling is just another aspect of modern life saying:

…the Internet has become an integral part of everyday life for a significant number of residents of this state, not only in regard to their professional lives, but also in regard to personal business and communication. Internet wagering on games of chance and games of skill is a core form of entertainment for millions of individuals worldwide. In multiple jurisdictions across the world, Internet gaming is legal, regulated, and taxed, generating billions of dollars in revenue for governments.

This, not particularly radical notion, could set Michigan up as the industry standard for US-facing, regulated online poker.

Michigan, it should be noted, already offers online lottery sales.


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