Towards the end of this month, September 2015, Pokerstars.net will be entering the realm of online gambling in the garden state, New Jersey. Amaya, the parent company of the popular online gaming site, which bought PokerStars in 2014 for the massive amount of 4.9 billion dollars, announced earlier this month that they expect the state to allow their gaming site by September 30th 2015.
The move is expected to happen with a rather quick time frame of weeks as opposed to the regular time of several months. The only reason this hasn’t happened yet is simply because the company hasn’t had time to do what’s called a “soft launch”. This is basically a release of the website to a closed number of people (many of whom work for PokerStars) to fine tune the website. They will look for bugs and other problems before the site is opened to the public. Several other factors still have to come into play before the website goes live, such as payment sites, which act as third party websites, and establishing a geolocation – essentially a physical site where the website servers are located, most likely a place within Atlantic City.
According to onlinepokerreport.com and pokersites.us, Amaya originally filed for a transactional waiver two years ago, but were denied. Amaya recently applied again for a waiver, which would allow the brand to operate with New Jersey, and it is expected to be granted within the week.
The timing of PokerStars’ entry into New Jersey could be related to the fact that the World Series of Poker (wsop.com) announced it would be coming to New Jersey within the first few weeks of October. PokerStars’ entry couldn’t have come at a better time for New Jersey and its dismal online gaming revenue numbers. Compared to last year, the state’s online poker revenue is down around 24.5% since the beginning of the year. Many people hope that the introduction of the website among other competitors will help turn the floundering market around.
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has been in favor of the idea of new online poker sites entering the state for several years now. However, Christie has had to affirm several times that he was not responsible for PokerStars’ delayed entry. Many have accused Christie of putting a hold on the entry to gain political favors from billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Adelson owns several brick-and-mortar casinos and doesn’t hide the fact that he wants to see all internet gambling banned.
Many other Las Vegas-based hotel owners have voiced their dislike about the online gaming industry gaining popularity. Oddly, one who is in favor of iGaming is presidential hopeful Donald Trump, who has influence in both Nevada and New Jersey.
Most people don’t know that the release of PokerStars in New Jersey is coming soon, so Amaya is launching a massive marketing campaign to attract casual gambling users. Amaya has a rather large task in attracting those who avoid online gambling and spend time in land-based casinos. You can expect a rather large and quite possibly aggressive PR marketing campaign, with big names and famous faces in the coming days.
PokerStars has had a bad reputation ever since they violated laws by allowing U.S. players to continue gambling on their site after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. Their re-entry into New Jersey marks the first time they will be resuming real-money operations since then.
While online casinos and poker websites are eying California and Pennsylvania as the next states for iGaming, New Jersey wants to become the online poker and gambling hub of the United States. According to legal-gambling-usa.com, Amaya wants international companies to watch closely the developments that are going to take place in New Jersey. Quite a bit of business is on the line for the state, and it could bring in major money should the state allow the move planned by Amaya. Amaya has also publicly stated that they are waiting on the potential success of New Jersey to look into expanding into other online gambling websites and their various audiences.
Amaya is very positive that their new venture will gain a strong foothold. If he’s right, New Jersey will be proud to say they were a trailblazer when it came to the issue of online gambling and poker sites. Like many other examples of major change, this re-entry comes with major opposition. However, there is a very good chance that the reemergence of online poker sites will eventually spread to other states, bringing in more business and strengthening the entire internet gaming industry.