Though rivals, PokerStars and Caesars Entertainment Corp are going to work together for federal-level legalization of poker in the US.
Jan Jones Blackhurst, the executive vice president (governmental relations) for Caesars Entertainment, told Gambling Compliance: “We need to focus on where our opposition really lies, and clearly it’s not Amaya and PokerStars. They are a strong ally in the space.”
Amaya Gaming Group, which acquired PokerStars for $4.9 billion last year, and Caesars have worked together in the past, owing to which they are finding it easy to get together again. If the Canada-based company had not acquired PokerStars, the two wouldn’t have collaborated. While Caesars is an operator of casino gaming business, Amaya supplies gambling services and technology.
Early in 2013, the American Gaming Association (AGA), of which Caesars is an important member, had criticized PokerStars for choosing to remain in the US in spite of the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act in 2006. PokerStars getting together with Caesars to fight for a common cause, therefore, is quite significant. The AGA had stated that PokerStars should not be permitted entry into the US online gambling market because “the integrity of the gaming industry would be gravely compromised by any regulatory approval of PokerStars, a business built on deceit, chicanery, and systematic flouting of US law.”
Now that PokerStars is part of Amaya, its past becomes forgivable although a few US states are still toying with bad actor clauses that may make it difficult for PokerStars to obtain a license.
Currently, billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is making attempts to get online gambling banned all over the US. He feels that online gambling will not only cannibalize the country’s existing land-based gambling businesses, but also be dangerous to social well-being. He had stated that he is willing to spend “whatever it takes” to prevent the legalization of online gambling in the country.
If Adelson fails, the alliance between PokerStars and Caesars may bring hopes to the online poker industry. Both companies want California to legalize online poker. Meanwhile, many other US states, including Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Washington, are planning to legalize online poker.
Right now, it cannot be said exactly how the PokerStars-Caesars alliance will impact the US online poker industry. The alliance surely brings hope to US poker players who want to play poker online legally.
So far, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey are the only states that have legalized online poker.