POKER

Caesars readies WSOP.com field trial; PokerStars US-facing free-play app

TAGs: American Gaming Association, Caesars Entertainment, New Jersey Online Gambling, PokerStars, wsop.com

wsop-field-trial-pokerstars-mobile-appThe latest public meeting of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission (CCC) is set for Wednesday (10) but the agenda doesn’t contain any reference to the war between online poker outfit PokerStars and US brick-and-mortar casino lobby group the American Gaming Association (AGA). The CCC’s March meeting was supposed to consider the AGA’s petition to intervene in PokerStars’ pursuit of a New Jersey gaming license, but the item was pulled from the agenda to give the CCC more time to figure out a way to tell the AGA – and Caesars Entertainment, which owns four gaming properties in Atlantic City and is largely presumed to be pulling the AGA’s strings – they are wasting everyone’s time.

In March, the AGA filed a petition to protest the gaming license bid by PokerStars’ parent company the Rational Group aka that “criminal enterprise … built on deceit, chicanery and the systematic flouting of US law.” Rational has struck a deal to purchase Atlantic City’s struggling Atlantic Club casino-hotel, and since New Jersey’s online gambling licenses will only be given to licensed casino operators, holding such a license would put PokerStars on a fast-track to online poker dominance in New Jersey. Caesars, which is struggling under the weight of $20b+ debt and views online gambling as a new revenue lifeline, appears willing to take whatever steps necessary to keep Stars out.

While there won’t be any mano y mano action on the Jersey shore (at least, not this week), both PokerStars and Caesars continue to jockey for position in the fledgling US online gambling market. Caesars’ online division Caesars Interactive has issued a call for Nevada poker players over 21 years of age to sign up for a “field trial’ of its Nevada-licensed World Series of Poker-branded online poker site. The page is currently only taking registrants’ pertinent information but promises that “online poker for real money is coming soon!”

Not to be outdone, PokerStars is emailing players to let them know that its PokerStars.net free-play mobile app is now accessible by US residents. The app, which follows PokerStars’ debut on Facebook in February, allows US residents to enjoy ring games, tournament play and the fast-fold Zoom poker product via their smartphone or tablet with players around the globe. The iOS- and Android-compatible app is available for download via Apple and Amazon’s app stores and via Google Play. No word on whether the AGA has filed a petition with Apple, Amazon and Google to protest, er, something.

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