Lawmaker: PokerStars Will Launch in New Jersey in March

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According to State Senator Raymond Lesniak (pictured), PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site, will launch in New Jersey in March. Now that the so-called “lame duck” session of Congress in the US is behind us and lawmakers around the country have taken their posts, the focus in New Jersey may now shift to PokerStars being licensed.

Longtime industry pro and Online Poker Report front man Chris Grove Tweeted to Lesniak on Saturday, “What about PokerStars – how’s that appeal going?” Lesniak responded, “March 2015.” You can follow Grove on Twitter at @OPReport. You can follow Lesniak at @SenatorLesniak.

Lesniak, who said late last year that PokerStars was in “time out” in New Jersey, added on Twitter, “Adelson’s play to ban eGaming in Congress is dead and PokerStars’ new ownership [is] too formidable to deny.” In the middle of 2014, Amaya Gaming bought PokerStarsand its sister site, Full Tilt, for $4.9 billion to create the largest publicly traded internet gambling company in the world. In the process, it eliminated PokerStars’ ownership during Black Friday.

During last year’s lame duck session, it appeared that New Jersey officials would let Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson (pictured) potentially ban internet gambling in the US at the Federal level before deciding what to do with PokerStars in the Garden State.

Online Poker Reportelaborated, “It’s worth noting that Lesniak isn’t the only voice suggesting that PokerStars’ outlook in New Jersey has improved. A recent note from Adam Krejcik at Eilers Research put PokerStars’ chances of cracking the New Jersey market in 2015 at better than 50%.”

In PocketFives’ New Jersey pokercommunity, PocketFives co-founder Adam Small said in a thread, “The assumption continues to be that Stars/Tilt will get approved. This hasn’t really changed since the Amaya acquisition. The only thing that’s changed, from where I’m standing, is ETA. That still appears to be very much in the air.” Rumors circulated, for example, that PokerStars would launch in New Jersey last October, but those didn’t pan out.

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14 COMMENTS

    • I assume it’s only US players vs US players.Is there any chance of the US playing on .com again in the near future?

      Not in at least 10 years. Lawmakers never move quickly.

    • Not in at least 10 years. Lawmakers never move quickly.

      10 Yrs?? Cmon lol. The problem tho is it’s not really a clear REP vs DEM issue. I hear there are rumblings in CA and MEX too. Would be interesting if the Canadian and Mexican markets shut down… then those players made a mad bolt to NJ! : )

    • Not in at least 10 years. Lawmakers never move quickly.

      NJ is currently looking to compact with the other US states that have online gaming and the UK.

    • “Adelson’s play to ban eGaming in Congress is dead and PokerStars’ new ownership [is] too formidable to deny.” Best news I’ve heard since my wife left and told me she wasn’t coming back.

    • “Adelson’s play to ban eGaming in Congress is dead and PokerStars’ new ownership [is] too formidable to deny.” Best news I’ve heard since my wife left and told me she wasn’t coming back.

      Tough Life + 1

    • “Adelson’s play to ban eGaming in Congress is dead and PokerStars’ new ownership [is] too formidable to deny.”

      Meh. People are reporting a lot of “news.” Doesn’t mean it really means anything. Stars’ chances go up and down, Adelson’s chances go up and down. Reporters have to report stuff in the meantime. I would absolutely not use the word “dead” to describe the chances of our industry getting banned at some point. I think it’s unlikely, but on the other hand I find it also very unlikely the the US will legalize/license/regulate the industry on a federal level. We’re probably staying how we are now for quite a while, with some states slowly dipping their feet in and an interstate compact forming here and there.

    • NJ is currently looking to compact with the other US states that have online gaming and the UK.

      The uk isn’t segregated so not sure how this could work.

    • Wouldn’t put too much stock in what Lesniak said. I don’t think he knows more than most about when Stars will get their NJ license. And yes, you can play whenever you’re in NJ, even if you don’t live there.

    • Wouldn’t put too much stock in what Lesniak said. I don’t think he knows more than most about when Stars will get their NJ license. And yes, you can play whenever you’re in NJ, even if you don’t live there.

      Agreed in part, but Lesniak has been one of the driving forces behind i-gaming in New Jersey. Of the public figures, he’s one of the people who would know the best.

    • WSOP dot com has no presence in the U.K. but 888 does, hence the recent NJ player pool consolidation. Party Poker & PokerStars currently have an established presence in the U.K.. NJ/ROW from PS launch… if I’m reading between the lines correctly. Perhaps it’ll be an April Fools Day ripe with ambiguity !

    • If I remember correctly, Senator Lesniak wants to have international sites based in NJ. Those sites, however, would NOT be able to accept NJ players unless they have their partnership with an Atlantic City casino. Even if someone like 888 or Party does have such an arrangement, the NJ player base would still be segmented from the international dotcoms per the current online gaming regulations in the state.

      As to when U. S. players will be able to get back in the international game, it isn’t going to be anytime soon. The current move with internet gaming and poker is for “nation-specific” sites (Germany, France, Spain, Italy, etc.) and, here in the U. S., “state-specific” arrangements. Unless there is a radical move in the Congress, there isn’t going to be federal regulation for some time (while the fight continues not to out-and-out ban it).

      I said after Black Friday it would be five to ten years before there was federal regulation. We’re coming up on that window next year.

    • The uk isn’t segregated so not sure how this could work.

      But they are licensing and taxing now, so it is feasible to think NJ could combine with their system somehow and also be in the same pools the UK is in. I find this scenario pretty unlikely in the near term, but it’s a great example of how many different outcomes we could see for the industry. Back in 2006 when the UIGEA passed I never imagined we’d some day in the future be talking about state-by-state licensing and regulation in the US. I was a lot greener on the industry then than I am now, but still it was just one of many, many ways things could have developed