Michigan Regulates Online Poker – Which States and Countries Could Follow?



Michigan recently became the sixth state to regulate online poker in a December 2019 votes, with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signing the bill. The bill also makes online gambling and online sports betting legal throughout the state. The move follows in the footsteps of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and, of course, Nevada in allowing Internet gambling. The Lawful Internet Gaming Act has appointed the Michigan Gaming Control Board to issue licenses for operators interested in conducting online gambling in the state. February’s Super Bowl LIV is the target date for ensuring licenses are active, with operators eager to set everything up in order to be able to take bets on one of the country’s biggest sporting events.

Online Casino in the USA

The 2018 Supreme Court ruling that allowed legalization of sports betting in every state –provided the state wants it – seems to be leading to a snowball effect. Success stories from New England’s Rhode Island have shown plenty of punters flocking from the rest of the Eastern Seaboard in order to get involved. This reinforces just how lucrative the move could be. The decentralized nature of online gambling in the USA means that it could be hard to speculate which states will eventually relent to allow legalized online poker. Utah and Hawaii are the only states that outright ban it while others, especially those close to other successful online gambling areas, may be more likely to pursue legalization.

Granted, the United States has a somewhat confusing set of rules when it comes to online gambling. While some laws focus on the integration of payment processors for taking money, others have gray areas when it comes to whether skill-based poker falls under the gambling category or is a different form of gaming. However, the recorded boost for the six states’ local economies as well as the tax contributions that resulted should act as a strong enough convincer for others to follow suit.

Online Casino in the Rest of the World



European countries are free to determine their own legalization, while abiding by the framework devised by the European Union, should they be a member state. The UK, for instance, is the most progressive, with almost all online gambling and sports betting legalized. Others are more limiting, such as Germany. But the expected €24.7 billion the industry will bring in by the end of 2020 should convince other European countries to be laxer with their own legislation.

South Africa

South Africa recently implemented the National Gambling Amendment Act of 2018, which hands over authority to the regulatory board, instead of the gambling board. This means that the country is better able to offer a range of online casino games, as well as online poker, which has gained a huge following and is incredibly popular. South Africa extolls liberal virtues when it comes to gambling, from its online and sports betting options to the range of lotteries and other forms of gambling provided to residents. The region has seen an economic boost from such activities, so it will be likely to act as a beacon of success to other countries in Africa who may follow suit.

How is the Industry Growing?

The growth of the net worth of the online casino industry – one of the few industries that confidently predicts strong positive growth into the next decade – should be enough of a reason for other countries to begin considering whether they should embrace online casino. Supporters have urged for adequate regulation should legalization happen, which seems to satiate those who might be somewhat against it.

According to research, the market value of the industry is expected to grow by approximately 8.77 percent between 2020 and 2024. Machine learning, chatbots and artificial intelligence also are likely to help the proliferation of the industry, which is often able to showcase new technology at a rate faster than conventional video gaming. Reports indicate that the fastest-growing region will be North America, which will also help to convince some of the states that are yet to fully commit to legalizing online poker.

Regulating online casinos throughout the world is likely to be a trend that continues to grow throughout 2020. The positive financial effects of doing so have been felt in areas where it has occurred, which helps convince others of the positive effect of following suit. This comes in the form of the rollout throughout the USA, and its success in Europe and South Africa. Even Democratic candidate Andrew Yang backs federal legalization and regulation of online poker. As attitudes begin to change and the financial benefits of legalizing online casino are felt, more legislators are likely to seriously consider it.

Tom McKenna

Tom McKenna