Amaya, owner of the PokerStars brand, announced today that it has received approval from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to begin offering real money online poker in the state starting Monday, March 21, 2016.
Real money play on PokerStars will begin with a “soft launch” of the product in mid-March during which a select group of players will be allowed to use the site, according to the press release issued Thursday.
If the soft launch procedures follow those that other operators followed when the state first launched its online gaming market in November 2013, PokerStars will be available to a select group of players for an 8-hour period for the first two days.
This period will be extended to 14 hours the following day and then then a full 24 hours for the final two days of testing.
When PokerStars does go live for real money online poker, it will be competing with four brands and two pools of online poker players. WSOP and 888 comprise the largest online poker network, averaging approximately 190 concurrent cash game players. Not far behind is the partnership between partypoker and Borgata, with a combined traffic of around 140 players.
The return of the PokerStars and Full Tilt brands comes nearly five years after they were effectively closed out of the US market by the Department of Justice on April 15, 2011, known as Black Friday.
Along with poker, Amaya’s plans to launch its slate of casino games, including table games, slots and video poker.
“PokerStars is the global leader in online poker and trusted by its customers for its robust and innovative technology, world-class security and game-integrity. We are honored and excited to now bring these experiences to New Jersey,” said David Baazov, Chairman and CEO of Amaya. “We’re also thankful to Morris Bailey and the fine team at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City and look forward to a successful collaboration.”
“Resorts is poised to offer players the best online and bricks & mortar casino experiences anywhere. We expect that the launch of PokerStars will further spur the positive momentum we have already made in the New Jersey online gaming market,” Bailey added.
In September 2015, Amaya was approved to offer both the PokerStars and Full Tilt brands; however, according to today’s press release, at least initially it appears that only the PokerStars brand will be used in New Jersey.
Amaya recently announced that it will retire the Full Tilt software, but the brand will continue as a skin on the PokerStars platform.