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PokerStars Vows to Boost New Jersey's Economy if License Approved

New Jersey gaming officials are apparently hard at work determining which agreements among the state’s dozen casinos and its gaming partners will be suitable for its soon-to-be launched online gambling regime.

One of those license applications being scrutinized is that of PokerStars, who has joined forces with Resorts Casino Hotel to provide Internet gambling in the Garden State. While state gaming officials analyze the pros and cons of letting PokerStars in, one of those pros is likely to be an incredible boost to the New Jersey economy.

That boost would come in the form of increased jobs, as parent company the Rational Group has indicated that online gambling license approval would prompt PokerStars to base its North American headquarters in New Jersey, the Press of Atlantic City reported. Around 50 jobs would be created in order to prepare for the Internet launch the moment PokerStars’ application is rubber-stamped.

Roughly 150 more positions would be available in early 2014 as PokerStars hangs its shingle in New Jersey as its home turf on American soil. An additional 200 job opportunities would likely open up toward the end of 2014, with the exact number dependent upon Internet gambling’s success and the likelihood of interstate compacts.

Furthermore, PokerStars has promised to foot the bill for a $10 million project that would bring a live poker room to the Resorts Casino. The new poker room would be adorned with the PokerStars name and would allow for tremendous marketing opportunities to bring online players into the brick and mortar casino.

Those are all positives that would inflate Atlantic City’s sagging economy. But the fruition of those grand plans is fully contingent on New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) regulators approving PokerStars as a suitable partner for Resorts Casino.

PokerStars still hasn’t shaken its bad actor status in the eyes of many for allegedly violating the UIGEA in 2006 and continuing operations in the U.S. However, New Jersey did away with the bad actor provisions of its online gambling statute prior to Governor Chris Christie signing the bill in February.

PokerStars hitched its wagon to Resorts Casino in July after its attempted acquisition of the Atlantic Club was nullified by the casino owners over a contractual technicality. While that ill-fated attempt at Atlantic City casino ownership landed in the muck, the world’s leading poker site still has its eye on other casino properties and may step up to the plate again should a license be granted.

“They’re [PokerStars] willing to talk to all of the various casinos that are for sale,” said William J. Pascrell III, a company spokesman.

New Jersey officials are aiming for a November 26 launch date, but the DGE hasn’t yet licensed or confirmed any agreements made by the dozen casinos and their online gaming partners. The DGE must, by law, notify the casinos of the intended launch date at least 45 days prior. It appears that we will know by the end of next week if that late November date is still doable.

DGE officials apparently have a lot of work to do in order to make that projected date a reality. Part of that work will be deciding the fate of PokerStars and the advantages or detriment that granting Rational Group an Internet gaming license would bring. My bet is on an aye vote for PokerStars.



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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.