The million dollar poker question has finally been answered in New Jersey. On Wednesday, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement announced that Amaya Inc. has received approval to operate PokerStars and Full Tilt in the state after a thorough investigation process that took over a year.
This marks PokerStars’ official return to the United States, this time in the regulated NJ online gambling marketplace.
PokerStars NJ and Full Tilt to operate under Resorts license
Now that Amaya has received approval to operate PokerStars and Full Tilt, they will do so in partnership with Resorts Casino in Atlantic City. The company had promised to build a PokerStars-themed poker room once their license was approved, so we can expect construction to begin on that room soon with a 2016 opening.
PokerStars quickly released a press release about their approval. Amaya CEO David Baazov was quoted at length in the release, stating:
“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.”
Prolonged process produced the result most of the industry wanted
Last month, DGE Chairman David Rebuck stated that they were close to concluding their investigation of Amaya and their purchase of PokerStars back in August 2014. This process was extensive with the company taking over 80 sworn interviews and visiting several foreign countries. Rebuck also claimed that the decision would be monumental and ultimately released the decision that most of the industry was hoping for.
The news also coincides with the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. On Wednesday, members from around the global gaming community discovered the news of PokerStars’ reentry into the United States at G2E. Most feel that PokerStars’ prescience in the United States is a positive one and most expect them to become the top site wherever they operate.
What’s next for PokerStars in New Jersey?
The obvious question is when PokerStars NJ will launch? Speculation has already started with some believing the site could be up and running by late October. Others feel that the site will launch sometime in December.
Of course, the most logical and appropriate date to launch PokerStars NJ would be on the two-year anniversary of the launch of NJ iGaming. November 21, 2015 can serve as both a celebration of the industry and a launch date for PokerStars NJ. It would also be a great way to build press for both.
Regardless of their launch date, expect advertising for the site to begin in New Jersey very shortly with tons of print and media ads for the coming site. It will be interesting to see which promotions and events they choose to launch in the early weeks after launching. This will go a long ways in determining how quickly they rise to the top of the NJ iPoker market.
Our early predictions is that PokerStars will start out the gates fast and will be the #2 iGaming site in the state from inception. Within three to six months, they will climb to the top of NJ iGaming and it is hard to see anyone dethroning them anytime soon.