PokerStars prompts NJ players re account balances; cuts ties with int’l sites

new-jersey-pokerstars-account-balancesAmaya Gaming’s PokerStars brand has begun contacting its former New Jersey customers regarding their outstanding account balances.

As first reported by, New Jersey players who had accounts with PokerStars prior to the site’s exit from the market following the 2011 Black Friday federal indictments have received emails from Stars asking them to withdraw any funds remaining in their old accounts.

In September, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) approved Amaya’s application to relaunch its PokerStars and Full Tilt brands in New Jersey’s regulated online gambling market. Amaya acquired the brands in 2014 from the Rational Group, which had returned approximately $5m in account balances to New Jersey players following the 2011 indictments.

But the DGE noted that there was around $428k that had yet to be withdrawn by New Jersey players. Amaya has informed the affected Stars account holders that if they fail to come forward and reclaim their funds by Dec. 28, the money will be forfeited to the state, after which players will have to apply to the state’s Unclaimed Property Department for redress.

Amaya is clearly attempting to keep on the DGE’s good side by following the letter of the law, as some Stars account holders have reported receiving emails despite their accounts holding as little as four cents. Amaya has recommended that players with balances that are worth less than the cost of recovery choose instead to donate the funds to a New Jersey problem gambling fund.

Meanwhile, a major online poker affiliate has complied with the DGE’s order to cease promotion of sites not holding a New Jersey online gambling license. This week, Chris Carson, CEO of FourCubed, the parent company of (the former Poker Affiliate Solutions), issued an email stating that, as of Oct. 29, it would “no longer link to, market for, promote, or accept new advertisements and player sign ups at any ‘illegal online gambling site’ that serves US customers.”

On June 4, the DGE issued a Director’s Advisory Bulletin giving affiliates who wish to work with state-licensed sites a 150-day deadline for severing ties with any international gambling site serving US customers without a New Jersey license. One year prior to the DGE’s missive, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office warned affiliates that they could face “appropriate civil or criminal sanctions” unless they ceased their promotion of unauthorized sites.

The DGE’s order was intended to shore up the state’s regulated market, which has so far failed to live up to its original, highly unrealistic, revenue expectations. While the casino vertical is more or less holding its own, poker peaked within a couple months of the market’s Nov. 2013 launch and hit a new all-time low in September. It’s worth noting that PAS waited until pretty much the last minute to adhere to the DGE’s deadline, clearly not looking forward to being limited to fishing for minnows in New Jersey’s shallow pool.