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New Jersey Regulators Review Suitability of Pokerstars

With Amaya Gaming now in control of PokerStars following the $4.9 billion purchase of Rational Group, New Jersey gaming regulators are busy poring over new documents submitted by Amaya in support of obtaining an online gambling license.

Three key areas under scrutiny by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) are the technology used to power PokerStars’ software, the personnel listed under management and executive positions, and Amaya’s corporate structure, AP reported. Should those areas find approval by the DGE following intense analysis, players within the Garden State could be logging on at a PokerStars offering by the time the calendar turns to fall.

Amaya honchos met with DGE officials last week and were likely instructed to submit the new documentation post-haste in order to get up and running ASAP and provide a jump start to New Jersey’s online gambling regime. That regime has not lived up to initial revenue estimates, causing state officials to put some of the blame on unregulated sites that continued accepting New Jersey players.

Most of the major unregulated sites operating in New Jersey (as well as Nevada and Delaware) have now buckled under the demands put forth by state bigwigs and have withdrawn from the regulated markets. Withdrawing from the market was not the option chosen by PokerStars back in 2006 following enactment of the UIGEA, which resulted in the site both dominating the worldwide market while eventually achieving “bad actor” status and a heap of trouble within the U.S.

The company has since been attempting to repair its reputation in the American market, first by settling Black Friday allegations with the DoJ and bailing out Full Tilt Poker. That wasn’t enough, however, to appease those in charge of creating legislation and issuing igaming licenses under a state-by-state format made possible by a 2011 DoJ ruling that redefined the antiquated Wire Act.

Attempts to enter the New Jersey Internet gambling marketplace via casino ownership fell short for PokerStars, as did its application for an online gaming license as long as certain company executives failed to face the music with regard to unanswered charges in the Black Friday indictments. That resulted in the sale to Canadian-based Amaya Gaming, whose credibility in the industry seemingly wipes out the bad actor label (at least in New Jersey) that has saddled PokerStars.

PokerStars’ suitability for licensing under the charge of Amaya Gaming ownership appears now to be practically a foregone conclusion, as gaming officials appear eager to welcome the company into the fold of the Garden State online gambling scheme. The benefits of allowing the world’s most widely-recognized and popular site to become a player in the market could be enormous, especially with the possibility looming of branching out and allowing international partnership agreements in the future.



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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.