New Jersey legalized online poker in November 2013 and has issued licenses to a number of online gambling companies but is yet to grant PokerStars an online gambling license. This is due to the past reputation that PokerStars had in the market for breaking a number of legalities.
Ever since Canadian based Amaya Gaming acquired PokerStars, there has been a new push for the New Jersey Gambling regulators to reconsider PokerStars online gambling application in light of its new owners and policies. New Jersey’s online poker industry revenue has fallen well below initial estimates and online gambling companies have found it hard to establish themselves in and build a regular player database.
Ultimate Poker and Betfair have already shutdown operations in New Jersey stating that they did not believe market conditions would improve in the near future. The New Jersey gambling commission has now become more open to welcoming PokerStars into the market because it believes that PokerStars will provide a huge energy boost to New Jersey’s struggling online poker market and kick-start a recovery process.
During Amaya Gaming’s first quarter call, David Baazov, CEO of Amaya Gaming Group said “PokerStars is still on track from what I said on the last call in terms of New Jersey; I think that we’re seeing more markets take the trend toward regulation here and outside of the Europe Union as well, which I think is going to be important to see, and we would expect to see more color on that this calendar year.”
PokerStars is also currently campaigning hard to push for online poker legalization in the state of California. California’s online poker bill was reviewed in April and then advanced out of committee making it appear that a final decision on legalizing online poker in California could be made in a short time. If PokerStars were to get approval in New Jersey, it would strengthen its case for a California online poker license.
One of the main reasons why the New Jersey government has been hesitant to grant PokerStars an online poker license is because of the pressure generated by Sheldon Adelson’s anti-online gambling campaign. The Las Vegas Sands Chairman and Billionaire has personally financed an anti-online gambling campaign highlight the fact that companies like PokerStars who have a tarnished reputation should never be given a second opportunity to enter into the United States and set up operations.
PokerStars continue to remain positive that their New Jersey license will be issued before the 3rd quarter of 2015.