Interstate Poker Traffic in Michigan Up 32% Since PokerStars Shared Liquidity

Jessica Aletor
By:
Jessica Aletor
12/12/2023/
Industry
Michigan Casino News

Highlights

  • Michigan recently became the state with the highest online poker traffic in the US, about 12 months after PokerStars MI launched an interstate pool.
  • Since the introduction of the interstate shared liquidity between Michigan and New Jersey, poker cash traffic has gone up by 18.7% year-over-year.
  • BetMGM has also announced that it will soon introduce shared liquidity systems on its online poker offerings, thereby creating even more potential for growth.

PokerStars MI set the stage for one of the most incredible online poker developments in Michigan’s recent history when on Jan. 1, it launched a shared liquidity prize pool with PokerStars New Jersey. This feature allowed online poker players in both states to compete in games against each other and enjoy larger prizes than before. Since this development, Michigan has grown to become the state with the highest poker traffic across the nation.

Michigan recently overtook Pennsylvania as the biggest online poker market in the US. Things don’t appear to be slowing down for the Great Lakes States as BetMGM also announced that it plans to introduce shared liquidity pools for its Michigan customers soon.

Shared Liquidity Prize Pools Return Dividends for PokerStars in Michigan and New Jersey 

Before now, Michigan poker providers, including PokerStars operated “ring-fenced” prize pools, essentially preventing inter-state competitions. However, with Michigan joining the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), PokerStars launched an interstate liquidity pool between Michigan and New Jersey where it first went live back in 2016.

This strategic operation has sisnce yielded immense benefits for the poker brand as well as for the states involved in the shared pool. In the first month of the interstate shared liquidity, PokerStars claimed 40.3% of the online poker revenue in New Jersey, almost double its share in the previous month.

Similarly, in Michigan, overall cash game traffic generally went up by 18.7% year-over-year from 262 seats to 311 seats. PokerStars itself witnessed a 32% year-over-year increase in its traffic compared to November-December last year.

Not only is PokerStars now at the forefront of online poker sites in Michigan, but it has also placed Michigan ahead of other states in terms of poker traffic and revenue. For context, Michigan gained a 29% market share, with Pennsylvania coming a close second at 28.89%. The Great Lakes State has also generated over $1.5 billion in revenue throughout 2023.

Compared to PokerStars, BetMGM Poker MI saw a traffic decrease of 10% while WSOP.com Michigan witnessed a traffic decline of 4% in the same period. This has suggested that a reasonable number of players choose PokerStars MI above its direct competitors. Besides, given that overall poker traffic in Michigan increased, the gains of PokerStars was more than enough to cover for the losses of others.

BetMGM Reveals Shared Liquidity Launch in Michigan is “Imminent” 

Considering the massive gains recorded by the online poker market in Michigan over the past one-year period, there’s no surprise more operators are launching into the market. In a recent business update by BetMGM released Dec. 4, the company announced that shared player liquidity was “imminent.”  

As it stands, BetMGM currently operates in Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, offering independent, ring-fenced online poker services. In New Jersey, it operates through BetMGM Poker, Borgata Poker and Partypoker. A shared liquidity platform will mean an integration between at least two states and all three operators in New Jersey.  

“BetMGM understands our players’ appetite for merged and expanded player pools,” BetMGM Director of Poker Luke Staudenmaier said in a press release. “We always continue to work on improving our product and in 2024 we expect to demonstrate the true potential of BetMGM Poker from an online and omnichannel experience.” 

BetMGM is the only US operator to not yet offer shared liquidity in any of the states where it operates.

Michigan Poker Players May Soon Enjoy Shared Prize Pools with West Virginia 

Despite its achievements this year, PokerStars is not willing to settle and is determined to even improve on its product offering.  

“Shared liquidity has clearly enhanced our offering and attractiveness of the proposition we can provide across Michigan and New Jersey, but we are still working toward further market growth,” Steve Preiss, PokerStars VP for North America, told journalists.  

Interesting enough, an opening may already be available for the brand. West Virginia recently joined the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement, becoming the fifth state to do so. Delaware, Michigan, Nevada and New Jersey were the existing members of the MSIGA.  

This development means the launch of interstate shared liquidity in West Virginia may come in 2024. If that happens quickly, PokerStars may be looking to go live in the state and add the jurisdiction to its existing liquidity pools involving New Jersey and Michigan.  

On the other WSOP.com, one of the largest poker operators could also be looking at a possible expansion. In addition to New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania, it also operates exclusively in Nevada and Delaware. With Pennsylvania not allowing for interstate pools, WSOP.com may be poised to become the first four-market liquidity platform. However, there is nothing yet to suggest that the company is nursing this possibility.

Jessica is a news contributor to Gamble Online Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics but has over three years of experience working in the hospitality and gambling industry. Despite her core finance and investment banking background, she has been a casino feature writer for N1 Interactive Limited and multiple gambling affiliate sites. Her work has been featured on the bet365 blog, casino.zone and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments