POKER

PokerStars license delay in New Jersey linked to Amaya probe

TAGs: Amaya Gaming, david rebuck, Full Tilt, Jasmine Solana, New Jersey, New Jersey Online Gambling, NJDGE, PokerStars

PokerStars license delay in New Jersey linked to Amaya probePoker fans waiting for PokerStars to finally get a license in New Jersey will have to wait a little bit longer.

In a podcast interview with Global Gaming Business Magazine publisher Roger Gros,New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) David Rebuck indicated that it might take a while before the company gets a license in the state due to the ongoing investigation into its acquisition by Amaya.

PokerStars has been trying to enter the New Jersey market for several years already, to no avail. In 2013, the brand’s application was suspended for two years following a federal indictment against founder Isai Scheinberg. Stars had already settled its Black Friday civil charges with the U.S. Department of Justice for a hefty $731 million in 2012, and Stars spokesman Eric Hollreiser said the department had promised to “resume the review of our application if our circumstances change.”

The company’s circumstances did change after Canada-based Amaya Gaming acquired its parent company, Rational Group, in June 2014. Following the purchase, Amaya asked New Jersey to reconsider PokerStars’ application, and Rebuck said they have been looking into the issue ever since.

NJDGE, however, is taking its sweet time completing the review of the brand’s acquisition, frustrating not only Amaya, but also the poker players in New Jersey and also those who are interested in advancing Internet poker in the United States.

“We’re going to do this in a very professional way which will be published to the world, because whatever decisions we come down on will be scrutinized, and some will hate it and some will love it,” Rebuck told Gros.

To date, NJDGE have already taken 80 sworn interviews in relation to Amaya’s purchase of PokerStars and Full Tilt, and that the department has also sent agents to “half a dozen foreign countries” as part of its review, according to Rebuck.

With such an important decision left on NJDGE’s hands, Rebuck will not allow a sloppy decision that will undermine the credibility of his department, saying the review “will be done in a way that I can, through this division, have pride in saying this is accurate.”

Analysts already predicted that it’s only a matter of weeks before PokerStars joins New Jersey’s online poker space. According to SVP Equity analyst Chad Benyon said “A NJ license could be a major catalyst” for the online poker room “in the next 20 days.”

Until then, it’s back to thumb twiddling for both Amaya and PokerStars.

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