According to iGaming Businessand other outlets, the seemingly lengthy delay of PokerStarsgetting licensed in New Jersey has to do with a “thorough, comprehensive review” by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
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The review in question centers on Amaya Gaming’s purchase of PokerStarslast year. DGE Director David Rebuck was quoted in an iGaming Business article as explaining, “We’ve done 80 sworn interviews, we’ve traveled to half-a-dozen foreign countries. I’m not going to be the first person to sabotage the work of this Division. We’re going to do this in a very professional way, which will be published to the world, because whatever decision we come down on will be scrutinized and some will hate it and some will love it.”
There you have it.
A precedent will be set one way or the other. As Poker Industry Pro put it, whatever decision New Jersey makes could have a ripple effect in other current or future regulated gaming markets in the US: “The extended process and the depth of the DGE analysis may make it extremely difficult for other states to deny PokerStars a license if the DGE deems them suitable to be an operator in New Jersey.”
Amaya acquired PokerStars and its sister site, Full Tilt, for $4.9 billion in June 2014. Mark Scheinberg (pictured), the founder and CEO of PokerStars’ parent company, stepped aside in the process, potentially satisfying issues New Jersey regulators could have had with the presence of Isai Scheinberg and other post-UIGEA executives.
PokerStars officials have been adamant that the poker room will be licensed in New Jersey by the end of the third quarter, which is coming up next Wednesday.
Amaya’s stock run-up in the weeks before its PokerStars purchase has also been under investigation, potentially complicating matters, although that probe was not cited by iGaming Business as a reason for the licensing delay.
Already licensed and operating in New Jersey are sites like the bwin.party-managed PartyPokerand the 888 Holdings-owned 888 Poker. Visit PocketFives’ New Jersey poker community for the latest news and discussion from New Jersey players.