New Jersey online poker players and the Rational Group were dealt a blow in the fight to license PokerStars. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) announced that the PokerStars application would be suspended for two years unless a change is made that warrants a reopening of the process. The pending legal case against Isai Scheinberg appears to be the hurdle preventing the licensing of PokerStars in New Jersey.
New Jersey poker players hoped to experience the first class PokerStars software and customer service experience. Optimists have dreamed of the day New Jersey players can network with the massive international player pool offered by PokerStars.com, an experience Americans have not had since April 2011.
The Atlantic City economy was hopeful of the jobs that would be created by the construction of the PokerStars room at Resorts and ones created through the Internet site.
At this point, that is all still wishful thinking.
Resorts Receives License
Overshadowed by the PokerStars news is the fact that Resorts was issued an Internet gaming license by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. No official announcement has been made about what Resorts will do now that the PokerStars deal is at the very least delayed. Resorts could eventually pair with another partner that has already been approved to apply for a transactional waiver or it can wait and see if the PokerStars process is resolved.
What is ahead for PokerStars?
The Resorts deal is not officially dead. Should Resorts decide to find a new partner to provide its software, PokerStars would have a few options.
Most Atlantic City casinos have found software providers. The exceptions are Atlantic Club and Revel. PokerStars tried to acquire Atlantic Club. That sale fell through in April 2013. Atlantic Club is going on the auction block on December 17th. Considering the licensing issues, PokerStars is not likely to be involved with that sale. An online gaming operator could be the next buyer, although anyone that qualifies for a New Jersey license could place a bid.
Revel does not have a partner set up now. The resort may go through a sale or bankruptcy in the near future. Revel could be an expensive property to acquire, even through a bankruptcy. Its construction price topped $2 billion. A partnership with current or future owners is not out of the question.
Another option would be to build an Atlantic City casino. The brick and mortar market is saturated and there is no telling where the online market may be by then. The company could also partner with an existing property as up to five sites are allowed per land-based casino license. That seems like a stretch though as existing software partners may object and several of those licenses belong to companies that fought PokerStars and its New Jersey gaming application from the start.
PokerStars may also find bad actor clauses will hinder its ability to enter other states, at least for the next few years. If PokerStars cannot find a way into New Jersey then its short term U.S. business is in doubt as New Jersey was thought to be a gateway.
PokerStars will find a way into the U.S. market, even if it is not today. There is too much demand for their product, which is often described as the best in the entire online poker industry.
Five Existing New Jersey Poker Sites Already Exist
New Jersey online poker players will survive without PokerStars. Players can already choose between five networks. Three of these sites offer ample traffic. There are also many great promotions for players among these sites.
Party Poker offers a 100% up to $100 first deposit bonus that clears at 50% rakeback and its Sunday $50k guaranteed tournament. This has helped the site become the largest New Jersey site, according to stats compiled by PokerScout.
WSOP offers a 100% up to $400 first deposit bonus that clears at 20% rakeback. WSOP also offers a competitive VIP program. WSOP is the secind largest New Jersey poker site.
888 offers daily $10k freerolls and a 100% up to $500 first deposit bonus that equals 20% rakeback.
Ultimate Poker offers a bonus of up to $500 that clears at 25% rakeback and one of the best VIP programs available. Ultimate Poker’s support is exceptional.
Betfair’s poker site has struggled to draw traffic but offers players a great deal to try it out. New players receive a $25 bonus and eight free tournament tickets. The VIP program returns up to 20% rakeback.