Michigan and Pennsylvania have yet to announce a clear plan in relation to entering into online poker shared liquidity agreements with other regulated states, despite recent developments in the Wire Act case.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has decided not to appeal the latest court ruling declaring that the law only applies to sports betting, a move described as “historic victory” for online gambling. Both of the states’ gambling regulators have remained tightlipped as to their next steps now that a major barrier to interstate deals has been essentially removed.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) might still be hesitant to issue any declarations, unless they obtain clarity in relation to the Wire Act case.
In June, both of the states’ Attorneys General joined 24 other AGs in writing a letter to the DOJ, urging the agency to clarify its position on the Wire Act.
The AGs were specifically asking the DOJ to release a formal memo declaring its final position on the matter. Until this happens, the MGCB and PGCB will likely maintain a cautious stance on interstate online poker deals, unlike their counterparts in West Virginia who already announced that they’re now exploring the possibility of joining an interstate compact.
Gaming law attorneys have also claimed that the DOJ’s refusal to appeal an appellate court decision on the Wire Act case means that creating or participating in multi-state agreements is now generally legal. But officials from both the MGCB and PGCB declined to issue any comment on the matter.
MI and PA are relatively new to the online gaming sphere, but both states have so far shown great potential since launching their own regulated online gaming markets.
Figures for May show both markets generated $193.5 million in combined online casino revenue, with their sportsbooks also contributing $51.7 million. While online poker constitutes just a small portion of both of the states’ overall iGaming revenue, things are bound to change once interstate compacts come into play.
MI and PA have two options in expanding their markets. They could join Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware in the existing Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), or they could also create a separate deal within themselves or other regulated markets such as West Virginia.
But it seems that both states will not take any significant steps forward unless they get some sort of finality as to the legality of participating in such interstate compacts.