Is online poker legal in Michigan? This is one of the most common questions that many poker players have been asking recently. And why it should be important is because the Michigan government just passed a new law that goes into effect on January first. This is just one of many new laws that have been passed recently by our state government and hopefully will create a more informed and clearer poker playing public.
First, as an absolute fact, is online poker legal in Michigan? Yes, as long as you play in the confines of an Internet casino. However, there aren't any federal laws making online poker illegal for average citizens. Also, there is plenty of misinformation out there about laws like The Wire Act and UIGEA, but the bottom line is this: those laws DON'T, repeat, DON'T apply to Michigan residents and therefore don't, and can't, legally prohibit said players from participating in real-money games at internet casinos.
Second, is there a minimum amount of money that any player has to deposit to start wagering in online tournaments in Michigan? The minimum amount is set at ten dollars. Anymore, than that and you'll be required to pay taxes on any winnings. Any less than that and you probably shouldn't be gambling your hard-earned money at all!
Third, is there any kind of way to track who is playing or where they are? Yes, in Michigan you can now use geolocation technology to see who is playing at any given time. This is because all of the Michigan online casinos have installed digital equipment that is able to retain data about players at all times, even when they are playing at different websites. This information is then sent back to the players' computers, which means that at anytime a visitor to one of the Michigan casinos can check up on their \"board gaming record\" and see how their results have been throughout the year. This is the same technology that is used by the government to spy on people who are involved with online poker.
Now, to talk about how things will work when the new laws go live. You can expect that most, if not all of the online casinos that are in operation right now will comply with these newly enacted policies, meaning that they will be in compliance with the state and local laws once they go live. The three major Michigan online gambling operators that have chosen to not conform to these policies are the House of Blues, the Wildfire and theorts. Although I am sure that others will soon follow suit, for the time being if you are an internet gambler in Michigan, you will have to move along and play elsewhere.
However, the laws that have recently been passed are actually good news for the online poker operators out there. First of all, the new laws prevent online casinos from sharing player pools with other online casinos. Although players will be happy to hear that their results will not be shared with other operators, the fact remains that it does not follow that they can not have their own websites. It will still be perfectly fine for them to use geolocation technology to pinpoint players located within a certain area. Once this is done, then they can go ahead and accept payments using credit cards or PayPal, which will be subject to the various state and local taxes that each state has. However, by choosing to use this form of payment, the Michigan casinos will be more than happy to pay for it because it is free advertising for them!
So, how can the online poker room in your state benefit from these policies? First of all, players who use this new payment method will be subject to fewer fees, which will make the games more enjoyable for everyone. Secondly, players who participate in cash games will no longer have to pay taxes on their winnings, which is another great advantage. Finally, as long as you are playing in a casino hotel, the Michigan state government will gladly share in your losses and share player pools with other states and counties, since you are within their borders.