Poker Community Reacts to PokerStars Being Licensed in New Jersey

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PokerStars has endured setback after setback in its long road to becoming licensed in the US iGaming market. On Wednesday, the company’s persistence paid off, as the gaming giant was granted a transactional waiver to open its doors in New Jersey. It’s partnering with Resorts Casino Hotel, which also runs ResortsCasino.com.

Poker pro Greg Merson(pictured) was one of the first to offer congratulations to the Isle of Man-based company. “Dear PokerStars, we here in NJ would like to welcome you with open arms! #murica,” he Tweeted. PokerStars pro Liv Boeree broke the news to her 108,000 Twitter followers as well: “Wooooooooo PokerStars have been approved for a New Jersey gaming licence!! Back in the US again.”

When New Jersey legalized online gambling after a key Department of Justice ruling on the Wire Act of 1961, the site’s path to offering its product in the Garden State seemed simple enough. PokerStars later found a partner in Resorts Casino Hotel, but was denied an iGaming license when questions about the company’s owners arose. It pressed on, eventually being acquired by Amaya Gaming and enduring a seemingly endless iGaming license application process by state regulators before getting the green light on Wednesday.

More industry heavyweights chimed in on the decision on Twitter, including Alex Dreyfus, head of the Global Poker Index. He said that PokerStars will not just poach players from existing operators, but will “develop the market size of NJ.” He also speculated that the company wouldn’t launch until next year. “I believe Amaya/Pokerstars will launch in Q1 2016, no need to add cost on Y15,” he said. “Need a strong strategy to develop a market without killing it.”

Competitor WSOPjoined in the course of congratulations, telling PokerStars, “Welcome to the Garden State… Seems appropriate with @RealKidPoker a vegan and all.”

And speaking of Daniel “@RealKidPoker” Negreanu (pictured), the six-time bracelet winner had his own response for his 375,000 Twitter followers. “Getting a lot of texts when I landed. Lots of people all of a sudden looking to spend some time on the Jersey Shore,” he said.

PokerStars head of corporate communications, Eric Hollreiser, got in on the action as well. “Hello New Jersey,” he Tweeted. “How YOU doin’.”

A tweet by PokerStars’ Garry Gates telegraphed the return of PokerStars live tournaments in the US. “Tomorrow marks my 5-year anniversary at PokerStars and I’m pleased to announce my new job/title is Live Events Manager, North America,” he said.

It’s unclear when Stars actually plans to launch, but with so much time to prepare, it’s unlikely that it will need much more. So far, Amaya CEO David Baazov has delivered on his promises of getting PokerStars licensed before the end of the third quarter and launching the company’s daily fantasy sports site before the beginning of the NFL season.

Poker entrepreneur Steve McLoughlin had this to say: “Isai waited 14 years for this date. This was his ultimate goal to be licensed and regulated here. Thank you for all you have done Isai!”

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18 COMMENTS

    • And the best software, marketing team, promotional team, live events team in the industry. I think it’ll be a plus

    • And the best software, marketing team, promotional team, live events team in the industry. I think it’ll be a plus

      I agree it’s DEFINITE plus Adam! Now all we need is the player pool compacts. It’s progress in the right direction for sure.

    • Its nice and all but would people really move to New Jersey just to play on pokerstars with less than 500 people. When they connect to ROW or add more states then that will be a day to celebrate.

    • has anyone in this thread seen the nj sites schedule tho? you gotta play all sites to make it work, this might bet the 3rd major site we needed

    • Its nice and all but would people really move to New Jersey just to play on pokerstars with less than 500 people. When they connect to ROW or add more states then that will be a day to celebrate.

      You don’t need to move here, you just need to visit!

    • I’m in the pfffft camp. New Jersey players playing New Jersey players would be like playing a PokerStars Club on the “Home Games” menu. The pool is too small to get very excited. Now connect New Jersey with Nevada and internationally and you have the nucleus of something good. Funny, in America guns,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,no problem, poker………………son, that shit’s dangerous!!!We do this to ourselves every 4 years though.

    • Bunch of bitter cry babies on here. Have fun either playing nothing at all, or on some non regulated sketchy site.

    • Amaya stock price up 18% yesterday. 6% the day before. Some of us are bullish on what this portends long-term..

    • Bunch of bitter cry babies on here. Have fun either playing nothing at all, or on some non regulated sketchy site.

      i mean it could be the step in the right direction, if a site was banned and is back it could lead to maybe interstate player pools in the near future

    • Obviously a step “in the right direction” if that direction is bringing the Stars brand “back” into the U.S.

      We’ll have to see how this boosts NJ’s already dwindling pool of intrastate players. I’m skeptically optimistic.

      I also worry this enhances the ridiculous “state-by-state” move that will keep prize pools very small.

    • Amaya stock up nearly another 8% today. Clearly the barriers to multi-state approval have been weakened..

    • Amaya stock up nearly another 8% today. Clearly the barriers to multi-state approval have been weakened..

      not 100% true, nevada and delaware share players and are on different sides of the country

    • the fact they got approved should be celebration after all the nonsense and slander that happened with them and full tilt

    • Meh…..whatever

      Im glad about it for all the folks happy I guess…Why wouldnt you be tapped into the entire pokerstars member pool, regardless of location…fcknstupid short sighted limited business model and thieving scamming criminal governments taking thier cut, making thier rules!! just cant take it anymore..
      Looking into quilting….square foot gardening etc etc….still measurable freedoms in those arenas!!