PokerStars To Soft Launch In New Jersey This Week
Mar. 16 To Mark Official Return Of PokerStars In America
The world’s largest poker site will officially be making its return to America this week.
PokerStars, which received a New Jersey online gaming license last fall, will begin what is known as a soft-launch phase on Wednesday. The site, which controls nearly 70 percent of the worldwide online poker market, plans to launch fully on Mar. 21 if all goes well this week.
The idea of a soft launch is to test the software, as well as the geo-location. A cap of 500 players is set for this week’s testing, with the site being accessible on Mar. 16 and 17 from 4 p.m. to midnight, Mar. 18 from 8 a.m. to midnight and Mar. 19 and 20 for a full 24 hours.
PokerStars NJ will only be available to players physically located within New Jersey’s borders. In other words, if you’re in the Garden State you will only be able to play against other players also in the Garden State. New Jersey has ring-fenced its online poker market for the time being.
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to be a resident of New Jersey to play. You just have to be there and satisfy the identity verification and age requirements. You have to be at least 21.
In order to run games from New Jersey, PokerStars had to partner with a brick-and-mortar casino operator in Atlantic City. The site’s partner is Resorts casino and hotel. Players can deposit onto PokerStars in person at the casino, or they can do it online with Skrill, NETELLER, VISA, MasterCard or an ACH bank transfer. Payment processing for New Jersey online gambling sites has improved since the state first kicked off games in late 2013.
The poker site, which was acquired by Amaya Gaming Group in 2014 for $4.9 billion, hasn’t facilitated poker games for players in America since early 2011. PokerStars, along with a few other sites, were forced to leave U.S. cyberspace in an event the poker community knows well as Black Friday.
PokerStars settled with the U.S. government and acquired onetime rival Full Tilt Poker in the process. PokerStars said last month that Full Tilt’s player pool will be migrating over to PokerStars in an effort to make the company “more nimble.”
Once only a peer-to-peer poker platform, PokerStars NJ will be offering several different casino games in addition to its core product. House-banked games like roulette, blackjack, baccarat, video poker and slots will be available as well.
The site is expected to compete right away for the distinction of being the state’s most-played poker platform. According to PokerScout, WSOP/888 NJ currently leads the way with a seven-day average of 200 ring-game players. Party Borgata NJ has 130.
New Jersey online casinos won $148 million from gamblers in 2015, an increase of 21 percent year-over-year. However, poker revenue fell 18.1 percent on the year, going from $29.06 million in 2014 to $23.82 million in 2015. PokerStars could help reverse that trend.
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