DGE Conditions Guarantee PokerStars NJ Will Not Launch Until 2016

Based on recent developments reported on the PocketFives Community Forum, it is likely that PokerStars will not be launching in New Jersey until sometime in 2016. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement issued a license with several conditions that PokerStars must comply to before receiving a license.

One of those conditions was the repayment of former New Jersey player funds to those that had failed to claim them. PokerStars has recently began contacting former players regarding those balances and will spend the rest of 2015 trying to facilitate the return of those funds.

Players received email with instructions on how to claim funds

A players with the screen handle “briangrim310” shared an email sent to him by PokerStars regarding his former balance. This player had just $4.27 in his account. According to the email, players can request their funds in the following ways:

  • Logging into the PokerStars client and contacting support or emailing [email protected]
  • Write a letter or appear in person to the following address:
    • PokerStars
      c/o Fox Rothschild, LLP
      1301 Atlantic Ave, Suite 400
      Atlantic City, NJ 08401

Players must contact PokerStars before December 28, 2015 in order to receive their funds from the company. Any funds that remain unclaimed after that point will be transferred to the NJ Unclaimed Property Department and players must contact that division in order to receive funds.

PokerStars presently has over $400,000 in New Jersey player funds and this money must be repaid to players or turned over to the state after December 31, 2015. According to reports, players with a balance under $1 are being encouraged to donate their balance to the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey.

Conditions mean PokerStars won’t launch in NJ before 2016

While some were hopeful that PokerStars would have a late 2015 launch, the conditions imposed by the DGE guarantee that the company will not begin their New Jersey operations before January 1, 2016. In addition to repayment of former player funds, Amaya, Inc. must terminate four employees that were deemed as unsuitable before the DGE will allow PokerStars to launch.

PokerStars has until December 31, 2015 to complete both tasks. While an announcement has not been made by Amaya, we can assume that the termination of the four employees has either happened or they have been given notice of their pending termination.

The conditions imposed by the DGE were quite thoughtful and could be copied by other states looking to legalize online poker. Repaying former players or releasing the funds to the state will help start the company with a clean slate and could help return funds to players that either were afraid to claim their funds or didn’t believe they would be paid.

PokerStars was the only online poker site in the Black Friday indictments to repay their players. They had returned the funds to the majority of the United States in the weeks following the indictment.

Absolute Poker and UB filed for bankruptcy and documents later revealed that Full Tilt has spent all but $10 million of nearly $400 million of worldwide player funds. PokerStars later purchased Full Tilt as part of their settlement with the DOJ, a settlement that required the repayment of Full Tilt players worldwide. That process is ongoing.

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