PokerStars Approved for Operation in Atlantic City, Announces Launch Date
March 11, 2016
PokerStars Approved for Operation in Atlantic City, Announces Launch Date; Partners with Resorts Casino Hotel
On February 25, PokerStars, the world's largest online poker company, gave an official announcement scheduling its launch in New Jersey. The launch date was confirmed to be March 21 of this year. PokerStars will be partnering with Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City to offer its online gaming experience.
“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,” stated David Baazov, Montreal based Amaya’s CEO. “We’re also thankful to Morris Bailey [the owner of Resorts Casino Hotel] and the fine team at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City and look forward to a successful collaboration.”
“Resorts Casino Hotel continues to be the preferred Atlantic City partner and home for outstanding global brands,” said Bailey. “First with Mohegan Sun and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and now, with PokerStars joining that portfolio, 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.”
PokerStars’ entry into New Jersey is, in fact, a re-entry. PokerStars, its parent company Rational Group, and its sister company Full Tilt were only purchased by Amaya in 2014. The previous owners of PokerStars, Isai and Mark Scheinberg, operated in New Jersey up until the year 2011, when they began to run into legal problems with the federal government by violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. This resistance supposedly helped persuade the Scheinbergs to sell their Isle of Man based company to Amaya, which seemed to assuage US Government concerns about the company’s ownership.
2014 is also the year that Amaya renewed PokerStars’ efforts to enter the New Jersey market. In 2015, Baazov predicted that PokerStars would be approved and operational in the state by later in the year; in the fall of 2015, PokerStars was cleared for operation, pending certain conditions. One of these conditions included the need to partner with one of Atlantic City’s brick and mortar casinos.
This announcement is also good news for Atlantic City, which is famously on the brink of bankruptcy. In 2015, four of its twelve casinos closed; in February, Atlantic City’s biggest casino, Borgata, refused to pay the city over $7 million over a tax refund dispute.