Just weeks after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill that legalized online gaming – including online poker – one of the world’s leading online poker operators has announced a partnership with a local tribe.
The Stars Group, the parent company of PokerStars and FOXBet, announced an agreement with Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Gaming Authority that gives it “first skin market access to operate and brand real-money online betting, poker, and casino” to Michiganders. This makes PokerStars the first online poker operator to announce a partner in Michigan since the bill was signed.
PokerStars still needs regulatory approval from the Michigan Gaming Control Board before launching.
“We are excited to announce this agreement with the Odawa tribe, which further strengthens our market access as we work to continue to build our FOX Bet business into one of the leaders in the emerging U.S. online betting and gaming market,” said Robin Chhabra, Chief Executive Officer, FOX Bet.
The agreement also allows The Stars Group to offer sports betting and casino games.
“The Tribe’s partnership with The Stars Group extends beyond our reservation and places the thrill of world-class sports betting and online gaming under every finger-tip sliding across a touch screen in the State of Michigan,” said Fred Harrington Jr., Tribal Council, LTBB Odawa.
PokerStars currently operates two sites in the United States. In New Jersey, PokerStars NJ launched in March 2016 in partnership with Resorts Casino Hotel. In November 2019, PokerStars PA launched in Pennsylvania in partnership with Mt. Airy Casino. The two sites do not share traffic with each other and there is no indication that either site will share liquidity with Michigan.
LTBB Odawa currently operates the Odawa Casino Resort in Petoskey and the Odawa Casino Mackinaw in Mackinaw City. The Petoskey location includes a poker room with six tables while the Mackinaw venue has no poker room or table games whatsoever.
As part of this partnership, LTBB Odawa will receive a share of the revenue generated by PokerStars and FOXBet products in the state.