New Jersey and PokerStars: Reaction To Return Of Online Poker

October 2, 2015
New Jersey and PokerStars: Reaction To Return Of Online Poker

PokerStars just announced that it would be coming to New Jersey, after receiving a license to operate in the state, which is the biggest news on the online poker front in years in the United States.

Reaction from the poker world was largely that of excitement from pros and New Jersey residents alike because of the news the leader in the online poker industry would be back in the United States for the first time.

A lot of casual poker players who haven’t followed the development of the regulated online gambling market in the U.S. thought this might mean Americans everywhere would soon be able to play at PokerStars, although that is not the case. (For more on that and other PokerStars NJ matters, check out these frequently asked questions.) The entry of PokerStars’ New Jersey platform did raise a lot of other questions and speculation.

What’s the impact of PokerStars in NJ?

The Associated Press was one of many mainstream media sources that tackled PokerStars’ entry, and what it means from a micro level, just in New Jersey. Talking to Chris Grove, the story got into the issue of how PokerStars could help NJ online poker in the short term, and that it will have a long-term impact on the market as a whole:

“PokerStars’ entry into the New Jersey market will certainly provide a shot in the arm for regulated online poker in the state. But once the initial wave of enthusiasm fades, New Jersey will still be faced with the reality that its player base simply isn’t large enough to support multiple online poker sites. To thrive — or perhaps to simply survive — the state will need to link up with other markets, in the U.S. or abroad.”

Despite the fact that there are established online poker rooms in the state — 888 Poker NJ, WSOP NJ and PartyPoker NJ and Borgata Poker — most people seem to think PokerStars will quickly rise to No. 1 in market share, once the site goes live. CEO Norbert Teufelberger told EGR North America (paywall) that he believed that “PokerStars could double the size of the poker market in New Jersey.” Some expressed doubt at that statement, but it’s also at least possible.

The floor for the online poker market appears to be set, at just under $2 million of revenue per month. Doubling that does not appear to be a lofty goal.

Full Tilt, too?

Full Tilt seems to be coming back to America as well, but in what form is unknown. Discussing the matter on social media, most in the industry seem to think it is unlikely that the poker platform will be leveraged in N.J., since PokerStars’ entry likely means there will be too many operators as it is.

Full Tilt, since it left the United States, has added a full suite of casino games; because online gambling is thriving in New Jersey and has not yet reached its saturation point, most think that we’ll see Full Tilt introduced in that fashion.

A Twitter handle has already been launched for the Full Tilt brand in New Jersey.

Good for Amaya’s stock price

Amaya, the parent company of PokerStars, hit a one-year low in its stock price as of September 29. But the stock has rallied nicely since the announcement that the site was entering New Jersey just a day later. Amaya stock

Any impact outside of NJ?

The hope for American poker players is that PokerStars’ re-entry to the U.S. will spark a new wave of momentum for online poker regulation at the state level. California and Pennsylvania both seriously considered online poker and gambling legislation this year, with Pennsylvania’s effort not dead quite yet. California’s online poker hopes will have to wait until next year. New York also recently held a hearing about online poker, and at least one industry leader believes the PokerStars NJ news will help efforts in that state.

In an ideal world, more states would regulate online poker and enter into an interstate compact, like the one between Nevada and Delaware. New Jersey currently does not belong to that compact, and New Jersey players are separated from player pools everywhere, including on PokerStars. If PokerStars can make an impact on the bottom line of online poker in New Jersey, it’s at least possible it will encourage states who are skeptical of the market currently.

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