PokerStars in NJ Catalyst for Interstate iPoker?
In late March, Amaya CEO David Baazov indicated that he expects PokerStars to receive the approval of New Jersey gaming regulators during Q3 of this year.
Baazov also revealed that a launch of igaming offerings by PokerStars would follow in the same quarter, which has the potential to shake up the online poker and gambling situation in the Garden State. Many are predicting that PokerStars would quickly become the most popular site at which to play, forcing the likes of WSOP.com, Borgata and Partypoker to struggle for market share.
That struggle and the entrance of PokerStars may prompt those sites to push harder for New Jersey to join Nevada and Delaware in the Multi State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). Losing a significant amount of revenue to the industry giant would no doubt hurt the bottom line of the gaming companies already operating in New Jersey, and joining the interstate compact already in play may offset some of those losses.
As it stands now, the regulated ipoker industry in the U.S. finds the pairing of WSOP.com in Nevada and the poker sites in Delaware with the most player traffic with an average of 170 cash players. WSOP.com in New Jersey, in collaboration with 888poker, is a close second with 160 players, according to PokerScout.
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Partypoker and the Borgata also operate in tandem in NJ, and that duo combine for a seven-day average of 130 ring game players. Add PokerStars to the mix of regulated online poker sites operating out of Atlantic City and those numbers will likely change significantly.
Those who are following the goings-on in the three regulated states have wondered why New Jersey has not yet climbed aboard and become part of the MSIGA. The particulars of revenue sharing in such an arrangement are likely a matter of contention considering that New Jersey has a larger player base from which to attract players.
However, the sites with a revenue loss at stake may become more keen to work out the details in a way that will appease all involved if and when PokerStars arrives and takes a big chunk of market share as many expect. Companies, whether gaming or otherwise, often find ways to take action in hopes of rectifying situations that result in losing revenue.
Of course, we have heard rumors over and over that PokerStars will be coming to New Jersey – October of last year was the first such time that approval by gaming regulators was imminent, followed by the proclamation by none other than New Jersey Sen. Raymond Lesniak that March of this year was a sure thing. Neither materialized.
And now, the Amaya CEO has chimed in with a new date to watch for the arrival of PokerStars. If it doesn’t happen in July, August or September for the third rumored time, the other sites in New Jersey certainly wouldn’t mind.