Having waited nearly three years for the launch of PokerStars New Jersey, the state’s online poker players will be especially pleased to hear the latest news, direct from the mouth of Amaya Gaming CEO David Baazov. During the latest earnings call, he said the company is projecting the launch of PokerStars in the Garden State this Fall.
Could it be true? Is the long awaited return of PokerStars to the United States – or at least one small art of it – finally going to happen? David Baazov, Chief Executive Officer for PokerStars parent company, Amaya Gaming, certainly seems to think so.
When asked by an analyst for any update on PokerStars New Jersey, Baaov replied, “As it relates to New Jersey I would say that we feel that this is coming…we would expect to receive and launch in the next quarter.”
Having shifted into the second quarter less than two weeks ago, that can only mean the third quarter – Fall of 2015. And that information was since confirmed by OnlinePokerReport, who broke the story early this morning.
Up until now, Amaya Gaming has declined to set any specific timeline for a launch of PokerStars in New Jersey. Hence, the fact that Baazov was inclined to give a practical timeframe is an incredibly positive development towards the evolution of online poker in the Garden State.
A very long wait for PokerStars New Jersey
PokerStars long-awaited entry in New Jersey first began with news that the company was attempting to acquire a land-based casino in the state, The Atlantic Club. Negotiations were hot and heavy in December of 2012, but fell through at the start of the following year.
Then in July of 2013, PokerStars signed a partnership deal with Resorts Casino, but when December rolled around, the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) suspended the online poker operator’s license application on the grounds of possible involvement with a US fugitive; PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg. Although Isai was no longer on the company payroll, his son Mark Scheinberg was the acting CEO.
A huge development occurred in July of 2014 when Amaya Gaming announced its intentions to purchase Rational Group, and PokerStars and Full Tilt along with it, from the Scheinberg’s. The deal was closed in September of that year. Amaya and Resorts immediately filed for a transactional waiver, and reports indicated it could be granted as early as Fall 2014, but the license process was put on hold, with no specific reason given.
Now, the acquiescence of Baazov alludes to the fact that he fully expects to be licensed in New Jersey no later than this coming fall. If his estimation is accurate, the impact on the online poker market in the Garden State could be immense.
PokerStars New Jersey could reignite the popularity of online poker in the state; something regulators are surely hoping for as the Q1 results for 2015 weren’t nearly so impressive as they were in Q1 2014. There’s still the matter of a saturated market, but the entry of PokerStars should light a proverbial fire under the asses of current operators to update their software, amend the tournament schedules and present more generous promotions.
In addition to the expectations for PokerStars New Jersey, Baazov also announced that the company launched its sports betting operation, and has plans to enter the daily fantasy sports (DFS) market in the very near future.