Is Michigan online poker legal? The short answer is yes, but you must read the small print. Many of the country's \"special interest\" organizations (lobbyists) are against online gambling and against internet gambling in general. In fact, the state of Michigan doesn't even sanction online poker, yet it makes no comment on it being illegal.
Unfortunately, there are no current laws in Michigan against online gambling, yet many of the county and cities have passed ordinances intended to prevent it. Some cities have had success in limiting internet gambling by making it illegal to run gambling casinos out of their city. The state of Michigan is the only state that allows internet gambling without a license, so anyone who says it is illegal isn't actually telling the truth. However, there are some areas where internet gambling is illegal because of the risk involved, such as Lake Michigan.
You may find that the three states above don't share a common stance on online poker. Yet they do recognize the fact that online casinos can create serious problems for municipalities. In Lake Michigan, for example, having casinos there can have a negative impact on the tourism industry. Lawmakers in Ann Arbor, Oakland, Novi and Macomb all passed resolutions calling for the immediate closing of online casinos in their cities. Even Cleveland is looking into potential regulations for online casinos, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
While some state legislators are looking into regulating online gambling, the main issue right now is actually the lack of laws surrounding online poker in Michigan. The lack of legislation gives the Michigan gambling commission the ability to make whatever decisions they want, which may include changing the rules at any time. The lack of laws surrounding online gambling in Michigan could cause problems for online casinos, as they aren't required by law to get a license or comply with specific laws before they open an online casino in the state. That means that the state isn't even guaranteed that an online casino will operate legally.
This lack of knowledge and fear of regulation has caused the online poker room in Michigan to move to other states. As of this writing, the most popular is PokerStars. PokerStars was one of the first online gambling sites to launch in the state of Michigan. They quickly became one of the most popular sites on the internet. Their location in Cedar Hills, however, soon left the state and moved to Las Vegas.
So why did they leave the state? The answer lies in the fact that the state of Michigan didn't pass any online poker bills, and that PokerStars was in bankruptcy. Because bankruptcy is a serious matter in Michigan, the state was not a likely candidate to keep an online gambling site out of their state, and so PokerStars had to move their base. Still, they remain one of the best sites online, and have not only kept their original headquarters, but they've expanded into other states, like Pennsylvania. And it looks like they might be soon, because in March they received approval from the New Jersey Gaming Commission to expand into that state.
The lack of regulatory information causes a lot of problems for online poker news watchers. For example, it's fairly easy to assume that because a site is based in another state, it doesn't need any form of licensing, because it's considered an offshore operation. This is not necessarily true, though, and the New Jersey Gaming Commission made a point to remind everyone of this at a hearing last week. Because of the lack of clear guidelines and laws surrounding online gambling, the commission received plenty of criticism for passing what is considered to be inadequate laws. They issued a report to follow, and are expected to issue a final report in 2021.
Finally, there's the recent case of Internet Gambling Commission decision to shut down the online Poker Room in response to the state's request for regulation. Despite the many concerns over the years about gaming and online gambling, the final decision was actually welcomed by the Poker players and the Online Casinos. As a matter of fact, New Jersey was one of the first states to pass such a law, and it was also one of the first to put a ban on online poker. In short, with all the controversy surrounding the subject, it's always nice to read up on the latest online poker news and state regulations.
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