For the past several months, many people in the poker community chimed in as to when PokerStars would make their return to the U.S. market. Everyone from NJ State senators to poker writers, bloggers and players made predictions, but now it appears that the approval of a license for PokerStars in New Jersey is “imminent”.
PokerStars’ approval for an i-gaming license in New Jersey was revealed yesterday by the Company Chairman of the Resorts Casino Hotel – Morris Bailey – during the unveiling of the casino´s new i-Gaming Lounge.
Bailey commented that the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) is close to finishing the process that would enable PokerStars to start offering online poker in New Jersey and – according to a tweet from the Atlantic City Press said that he expects to be “pleased with the outcome”.
Is the wait finally over?
The Resorts Casino Hotel originally entered into a joint venture with PokerStars in July 2013, and various reasons have been speculated for the delay in issuing a licence. Namely Governor Christie and Sheldon Adelson. But there has been nothing to prove this was the case.
Back in September 2014, New Jersey Senator Ray Lesniak took to Twitter and announced that he expected the return of PokerStars “within weeks”, which caused a stir of excitement in the New Jersey Poker community. Then he went on to say they will be up and running by March 2015. Both resulted in great disappointment for many.
During March’s first quarter earnings call , Amaya Gaming´s CEO, David Baazov, increased speculation that the wait for PokerStars´ return to New Jersey was drawing to a close. Baazov commented that a third-quarter launch for PokerStars was expected.
Will PokerStars be the savior in New Jersey?
Whereas PokerStars´ presence in New Jersey is likely to increase what have so far been disappointing revenues, it is unlikely to set the world on fire. According to the poker traffic monitoring site Pokerscout.com, the combined number of players playing online poker during peak hours often fails to exceed 750. It still remains to be seen if PokerStars will generate new players to sign up in the NJ market.
One difference that the arrival of PokerStars will definitely make is the construction of a $10 million poker room at the Resorts Casino Hotel – a promise made by PokerStars when the original agreement was signed, and which is being honored by Amaya Gaming.
The new poker room and the Resorts Casino i-Gaming Lounge will definitely improve the experience of playing both live and online poker for players in Atlantic City. They plan on holding major live events that could compete with what Party Poker has been offering with their land based partners Borgata.