PokerStars, Full Tilt Receive Approval to Operate in New Jersey
The day American poker players have been waiting for has arrived. No, online poker isn’t legal across the entire United States and no, Sheldon Adelson didn’t get a nasty wine stain on his monogrammed Venetian bathrobe, but it’s still really good news. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has notified Amaya Gaming that PokerStars and Full Tilt are now authorized to operate in the state. Their launch will mark the first time either has been open to U.S. customers since April 2011.
The DGE has yet to publish an official press release, but in a statement, Amaya Gaming CEO David Baazov expressed his understandable happiness with the situation:
We are very pleased to add New Jersey to the long list of regulated markets that have found PokerStars and Full Tilt suitable to offer real-money online gaming. I want to thank the DGE for their thorough and fair review of our business. We look forward to bringing our popular brands, innovative technology, marketing prowess and world-class security and game integrity to the growing New Jersey online gaming market. We anticipate providing additional details of our launch plans in the near future.
The New Jersey online poker market is currently dominated by two networks: the Party Borgata network and a WSOP.com/888 partnership. According to PokerScout.com, WSOP/888 is the market leader with a seven-day average of 170 cash game players, while Party Borgata has been averaging 110 cash game players.
PokerStars is expected to make a significant dent in its competitors’ traffic whenever it launches, but the hope for all involved in the New Jersey internet gaming industry is that Stars will actually help to expand the market. Thus, even if PokerStars grabs the highest market share, a smaller share of a bigger pie would still work out well for the other operators. The idea behind the possibility of market expansion is that PokerStars brings with it a brand awareness and cachet that even the other recognizable names don’t. PokerStars could get people who have been on the fence to finally jump into the internet poker pool in New Jersey, increasing traffic at all sites. PokerStars (and Full Tilt) could also be a catalyst for increased competition, so players could benefit from better promotions and greater innovation.
In the company’s statement, Amaya Gaming provided some details as to the DGE’s “thorough” review, saying:
New Jersey gaming regulators have a long history of stringent regulatory oversight and enforcement of gaming operations. The DGE’s review of PokerStars was extremely thorough and exhaustive, including a detailed review of Amaya’s operations and technology, sworn interviews with more than 70 individuals and visits to approximately a half dozen international jurisdictions. This stringent review found PokerStars to be under strong, ethical and trusted ownership and management with Amaya, and worthy of participating in New Jersey’s regulated online gaming market.
Amaya currently has a partnership with Resorts Casino Hotel to provide online gambling to players in New Jersey. No time table has been announced yet for a pending PokerStars or Full Tilt launch.
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