The one-year anniversary of the hard launch of online poker and gambling in New Jersey was reached on Nov. 26 and the second year of operation has begun.
While the first year faced a number of challenges, some expected and others not so much, expectations are high that year no. 2 will see New Jersey’s ipoker regime shake off its teething issues and reach new heights. Looking ahead, there certainly is reason for optimism that a marked improvement will be achieved.
Topping the list of instances that can lead to that improvement is New Jersey joining Nevada and Delaware in the Multi State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). Doing so is crucial to the success of online poker in New Jersey and it’s puzzling to many why the Garden State has been slow in signing on.
Declining revenue under its current intrastate model is forcing New Jersey officials to take action and we should see them become MSIGA members sometime in this second year in order to increase player pools. The result will be added interest from players and additional revenue, which will ultimately lead to building a solid foundation for the regulated online poker industry in the U.S.
Other states will be much more willing to approve ipoker legislation of their own once the success of interstate play is apparent. While the aim of this discussion is to focus on New Jersey, odds are good that Pennsylvania will be the next regulated state for online poker and gambling. That may happen in year no. 2 and Pennsylvania lawmakers will likely be prompted into action once New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware are rolling under the MSIGA scheme.
The next expectation for year no. 2 is for state gaming regulators to approve PokerStars for an igaming license, allowing the industry giant to re-enter the U.S. market and begin shedding its “bad actor” label. Many observers anticipated that to happen in year no. 1 once Amaya took control, but rumors are rampant that behind-the-scenes maneuvering by Sheldon Adelson may have caused a delay in PokerStars’ rubber-stamped approval.
Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling is causing headaches for the advocates of online poker and gambling. But despite the billionaire’s deep pockets, recent events in which many well-connected individuals and groups have spoken out against Adelson’s efforts lead many to believe that a better name for his organization would be the Coalition to Delay Internet Gambling.
Expect PokerStars to launch in year no. 2 in New Jersey. But be forewarned, while many are hoping that PokerStars will act as a savior and draw hordes of online poker players who love and dearly miss the PokerStars brand, the site can only do so much.
Without regulated interstate play, PokerStars will be attracting only players within New Jersey, a limited player pool that needs to be expanded. Expectation no. 1 in which New Jersey partners with the other regulated states really must happen first for PokerStars to be able to make a difference in the market.