David Baazov, the chief executive officer of Amaya, says that the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) will grant a license to PokerStars, enabling it to launch an online poker room in New Jersey with Resorts Casino, its partner, within the next one to three months.
PokerStars NJ may not turn out to be the game changer that the poker gaming community expects it to be. But this does not mean that PokerStars’ impact in NJ will be nothing as it has the power to save the online poker industry in NJ.
In NJ, the online casino gaming industry is doing very well. There was a slight decline, but the market quickly recovered and is currently enjoying a six-month upswing. But the story of online poker in NJ is quite different. Although it declined along with the online casino industry, it never recovered. Instead, the online poker revenue has remained at a monthly constant of $2 million.
If PokerStars succeeds in increasing the revenue number to $3.5 million, its previous peak, it will alter the online poker gaming perception in NJ considerably. NJ’s online casinos are generating $11 million every month and are likely to generate as much as $12 million every month by the end of 2015.
In addition, PokerStars is a well-recognized brand, something that players in NJ know very well. When the US federal government passed the UIGEA in 2006, operators such as partypoker, 888, and Betfair left the US market, but PokerStars stuck around. Although partypoker, Betfair, and 888 have now returned, they hardly resemble their previous versions and are therefore unlikely to be remembered. PokerStars is a brand that is still fresh in players’ minds as it continued to operate till the federal crackdown of April 15, 2011.
In spite of Black Friday, players still love PokerStars and consider it to be the savior of online poker as it acquired Full Tilt and made sure that its former players got a refund.
When PokerStars returns to New Jersey, it is sure to spend a considerable sum of money on marketing campaigns, driving home the message that it has now returned with a license from the NJDGE.
As it would promote the online gambling industry in the state, it would serve as a boost to the state’s existing gambling operators. PokerStars’ activities in NJ may also force existing operators to invest more in marketing campaigns too.