New Jersey Regulators Analyze PokerStars’ Suitability

New Jersey Regulators Analyze PokerStars' SuitabilityFollowing a sit-down with the new owners of PokerStars, New Jersey regulators have commenced analyzing the Internet gambling license request of Amaya Gaming.

Garden State gaming officials are poring over new documentation submitted by Amaya, who shocked the industry last week upon [geolink href=””]announcing the purchase of PokerStars[/geolink]. That acquisition includes Full Tilt Poker and all the assets of parent company Rational Group.

PokerStars’ application to operate online gambling in New Jersey was suspended last year amid concerns that company executives had failed to come clean with regard to Black Friday charges filed by U.S. prosecutors in 2011. But the purchase by Amaya and the planned resignation of those accused Rational representatives has seemingly wiped the slate clean in the eyes of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).

Viewed as a “bad actor” for continuing to cater to U.S. players following passage of the UIGEA in 2006, PokerStars has apparently shed itself of that label with the sale to the Canada-based Amaya Gaming Group. The DGE is optimistic that suitability requirements will be met and that PokerStars can join New Jersey’s online gambling market by autumn.

That market has failed to live up to expectations and could certainly benefit from the offerings of online poker’s most popular and widely recognized site. That popularity was achieved in part by remaining in the American marketplace while other gaming companies left under threat of the UIGEA statute.

DGE officials are now busily scrutinizing the technology behind PokerStars’ software, personnel listings within Amaya’s management and executive ranks, and the corporate structure as proposed by the recent acquisition, the AP reported. Once all those boxes are checked, the DGE will likely moisten the ink pad and commence to administer rubber-stamped approval for PokerStars’ entry into the U.S. as a legal online gaming operator.

That attempt at license approval had been stymied twice before. The first was the ill-fated effort of Rational to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino and the second was the aforementioned suspension of PokerStars’ license application by DGE officials who were concerned that company founder Isai Scheinberg remained a fugitive from justice.

While PokerStars is seemingly being welcomed in New Jersey following the takeover by Amaya, it is yet undetermined if officials from other states that are contemplating online gambling legislation will be as forgiving. Industry rumors persist indicating that PokerStars may run into roadblocks entering California’s online poker market as language in that state’s proposed ipoker bills may continue to shun the industry behemoth.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett