The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has reacted to the news that Amaya Gaming is buying Rational Group—parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker.
Amaya stated that it believes its acquisition of Rational Group will “expedite” the inclusion of PokerStars and Full Tilt into US regulated markets.
In a statement issued to pokerfuse, David Rebuck, Director of the DGE stated: “The Division is aware that current New Jersey authorized Internet gaming provider, Amaya Gaming Group, is acquiring the assets of PokerStars. Regulatory integrity is always paramount to the Division and we will review all aspects of this acquisition to ensure compliance with our high regulatory standards.”
“We are also encouraged by this development and the expanded opportunities it might provide for New Jersey’s Internet gaming industry,” Rebuck continued.
Speaking at the iGaming North America 2014 conference in March, State Senator Raymond Lesniak stated that PokerStars had “paid their penalty” and emphasized that the world-wide online poker leader had not been excluded from the market in New Jersey.
License Application Status
In December 2013, PokerStars had its license application suspended by the DGE for two years or until such time that circumstances changed.
“The Division, within that period [of two years], may consider a request for relief to reactivate the application if significantly changed circumstances are demonstrated,” the DGE stated.
It cited PokerStars’ association with its founder Isai Scheinberg as the main reason for the suspension.
“The Division’s determination is based primarily on the unresolved federal indictment against Isai Scheinberg for the alleged violation of federal gambling statutes, [...] and the involvement of certain PokerStars executives with Internet gaming operations in the United States following the enactment of UIGEA.”
Amaya currently holds a license in New Jersey.
With the Amaya deal in place and Rational Group CEO Mark Scheinberg leaving the company, it would appear that the barrier for PokerStars to enter the New Jersey market has been lifted.
PokerStars is partnered with Resorts Casino Atlantic City paving the way for the reemergence of PokerStars to reenter the US market following the expected DGE approval.