In case you’re wondering why PokerStarshas not been approved for a license in New Jersey, the reason is that the site is in “time out,” according to internet gambling advocate and State Senator Raymond Lesniak. Yes, PokerStars is in the same state my two-year-old son is in when he throws blocks at the television. The reason PokerStars is off the grid right now in the Garden State: Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, of course.
Lesniak posted on Twitter:
Poker Stars in time out because they would boost AC and hurt Adelson’s attempt in Congress to shut down Egaming
— Senator Ray Lesniak (@SenatorLesniak) November 11, 2014
Lesniak was kind enough to answer several follow-up questions to his Tweet and said that the cause of PokerStars being in time out is Adelson: “Christie just giving Adelson time during Congressional lame duck session to kill Egaming.” There are strong rumors that we’ll have a hearing about prohibiting online gambling during the upcoming lame duck session on Capitol Hill in the US. Whether a bill will be passed in some form remains to be seen.
Lesniak was quick to point out that PokerStars’ application has not been formally put on hold, but said his thoughts were based on “37 years of political insight.” This author originally expected PokerStars in New Jersey around October 1. Now, it appears we could be waiting well into 2015.
Despite plenty of gripe from the general public that New Jersey’s internet gambling revenues have been lower than expected, it was recently revealed that Borgata’s online gaming arm turned a profitin the third quarter. Borgata, of course, runs Borgata Poker.
Regarding PokerStars, Borgata officials said during an earnings call that they expect the site to be in the market at some point: “With respect to PokerStars, once again we don’t have any insight or any knowledge. As we built the model to operate online gaming in New Jersey, we just assumed they would be involved at some point in time. So, that’s the ultimate decision by the New Jersey regulators, then that’s it. We’ll be prepared to deal with it.”
At the federal level, Adelson (pictured) is supporting bills by Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that would effectively prohibit internet gambling in the US and roll back the Wire Act of 1961. The bill, as presently written, would also wipe out the regulated internet gambling industries in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware. According to the Poker Players Alliance, fantasy sports sits like FanDuel would continue to be permitted.
The PPA declined to comment on Lesniak’s Tweets. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest poker legislation news.