PokerStars to Launch in New Jersey on March 21st
PokerStars withdrew from the United States nearly five years ago and now, finally, the day many online poker players have been waiting for is nearly here. On Thursday, Canada-based Amaya Gaming announced that PokerStars will launch in New Jersey on March 21st, 2016 after a short beta testing period. It will be the first time that any online poker room that accepted U.S. customers post-UIGEA will host real-money internet gambling in a U.S. regulated market since BlackFriday.
In New Jersey, online poker operators must partner with a company that has a brick-and-mortar casino license in the state; PokerStars has teamed up with the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, a partnership that was forged long ago, in the early days of New Jersey’s regulated online gaming industry. PokerStars applied for a license just about as soon as it could, but kept seeing its approval (or even review) delayed because its original ownership team was still in place and, depending on who you talk to, because of politics.
But once PokerStars was sold to Amaya Gaming and previous ownership was gone, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) was more willing to take a look at the poker room’s application. In September 2015, PokerStars was finally given the DGE’s approval.
“PokerStars is the global leader in online poker and trusted by its customers for its robust and innovative technology, world-class security and game-integrity. We are honored and excited to now bring these experiences to New Jersey,” said Amaya Chairman and CEO David Baazov in a press release. “We’re also thankful to Morris Bailey and the fine team at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City and look forward to a successful collaboration.”
“Resorts Casino Hotel continues to be the preferred Atlantic City partner and home for outstanding global brands,” added Resorts owner Morris Bailey. “First with Mohegan Sun and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and now, with PokerStars joining that portfolio, Resorts is poised to offer players the best online and bricks & mortar casino experiences anywhere. We expect that the launch of PokerStars will further spur the positive momentum we have already made in the New Jersey online gaming market.”
Like with the other online poker rooms, PokerStars will initially be limited to accepting players only in New Jersey. New Jersey regulations do allow for compacts to be made with other states so that players can cross virtual borders, but the state has not made any such deals yet (Nevada and Delaware, in contrast, do pool their players).
While the established poker networks, Party Borgata and WSOP/888, are likely not absolutely thrilled that such a formidable competitor is joining the fray, they will likely outwardly say that they look forward to PokerStars’ entrance. And that wouldn’t necessarily be an untruth. The other operators hope that PokerStars’ name and reputation will grow the New Jersey market, as potential poker players who have to date remained on the sideline might decide to finally give regulated online poker a try now that the recognizable brand of PokerStars is up and running. Should those players have a positive experience, they very well might decide to deposit at the other poker rooms, as well.
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