PokerStars’ New Jersey Launch not Coming Until 2015

PokerStars' New Jersey Launch not Coming Until 2015Just about everybody expected PokerStars to be approved in New Jersey and to launch before the end of the year, but that likelihood appears dead.

It is now mid-November and recent media reports as well as tweets from New Jersey Senator Ray Lesniak indicate that the calendar will turn to 2015 before we see PokerStars legally operating in the U.S. Earlier this week, Lesniak tweeted the following:

Poker Stars in time out because they would boost AC and hurt Adelson’s attempt in Congress to shut down Egaming.

Once again, it is Sheldon Adelson and his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) that is dragging down progress of online poker in the U.S. The CSIG is nearing its 1-year anniversary and the coalition’s effect on thwarting the spread of regulated online poker throughout the U.S. cannot be understated.

Lesniak said that he has no direct knowledge concerning the slowdown of PokerStars’ igaming license approval by regulators at the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). Rather, he is basing that opinion on his almost four decades in politics.

It appears that the lame duck session of Congress before new politicians take office in January will see another push by Adelson to get a bill passed that would ban online gambling. Remember that the billionaire casino mogul is behind the Graham/Chaffetz proposal that was introduced back in March and aims to restore the Wire Act and wipe out regulated online poker and gambling in all 50 states.

Remember too that following Amaya’s purchase of PokerStars over the summer that the DGE expressed the likelihood that PokerStars’ approval and launch would happen rather quickly. Well, it’s now been five months, a longer amount of time than it took for the DGE to rubber stamp “Approved” on the igaming applications of all the operators currently offering online poker and gambling in New Jersey.

PokerStars Welcomes New Partner in California

While PokerStars’ entry into the U.S. market has taken a step back in New Jersey, the online poker giant seemingly took one step forward in California. That step occurred by welcoming another powerful tribe into the coalition that formed earlier this year and consisted of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the state’s three largest cardrooms, and PokerStars.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians joined the group to support PokerStars in California, strengthening the coalition’s position and leading to speculation that bad actor provisions may not be included in a new ipoker bill in the Golden State. That bill is expected to be introduced next month.

Morongo and San Manuel are old friends, previously allied in the California Online Poker Association (COPA). That group included a mixture of 60 cardrooms and tribes split almost down the middle at 31-29. Unfortunately, the association dissolved in 2012, frustrated that an online poker bill was not progressing.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett