PokerStars Tops New Jersey Market After Week 1
Site Already Most-Played Platform In The Garden State
After only a week of being fully launched in New Jersey via Atlantic City, PokerStars has jumped to the top of the online poker traffic rankings in the Garden State.
According to PokerScout, PokerStars NJ, which only allows players physically located within New Jersey to play against others also physically located within New Jersey, has averaged 170 cash game players over the past week, with a 24-hour peak of 441 players.
The platform from WSOP/888 had 140 and 341, respectively. Party Borgata NJ is in third with a 95-player average over the past week and a peak of 252.
The global PokerStars platform has averaged 17,000 cash game players, which gives it roughly 70 percent of the global online poker market. In order for PokerStars players in other jurisdictions to be able to compete against New Jersey players the state would have to reach a deal with each jurisdiction in order to figure out how to share the tax revenue generated.
New Jersey Internet gaming win was a record $14.7 million in February, compared to $10.4 million in February 2015, reflecting an increase of 41.8 percent. Peer-to-peer online poker revenue in February was just under $2 million, down 2.5 percent from the $2.05 million raked during the same month last year. PokerStars should reverse that trend.
PokerStars should also help its brick-and-mortar partner, Resorts Casino Hotel, climb the online gaming revenue ladder. In February, Borgata led the way with roughly $4.2 million of the total online gaming revenue, followed by the Golden Nugget with $3.1 million, Tropicana with $3.1 million, Caesars Interactive NJ with $3 million and Resorts Digital with $1.3 million.
While the PokerStars launch was a milestone for Amaya, PokerStars’ parent company, and for regulated U.S. online poker, the excitement was tempered just two days later after Amaya CEO David Baazov, along with some associates, was charged with insider trading by a Canadian regulator.
Quebec’s security regulator, the Autorité des marchés financiers, said that Baazov is facing a fine and possible prison time for “aiding with trades while in possession of privileged information, influencing or attempting to influence the market price of the securities of Amaya inc., and communicating privileged information.”
The investigation that resulted in the charges was into Amaya’s takeover of PokerStars and Full Tilt, a deal that made it one of the largest online gaming companies in the world. The government claims that the insider trading resulted in roughly $1.5 million in ill-gotten gains. Amaya and PokerStars were not accused of wrongdoing, and the allegations against Baazov will have no impact on PokerStars or Full Tilt games, Amaya said.
Though he has denied the allegations, Baazov and Amaya announced Tuesday that he will be taking a “voluntary leave of absence,” but will remain on the company’s board of directors.
“As always, I continue to be dedicated to doing the right thing for Amaya and all its stakeholders,” Baazov said in a statement. "I believe that stepping down in the short term will help to avoid distraction for the company and its management while I vigorously contest all allegations made against me and pursue my bid to acquire the company.”
It was reported weeks ago that Baazov could make a bid to take the company private. According to The Motley Fool, Baazov was planning to lead an effort to take Amaya private for $21 a share. Amaya’s stock price fell more than 20 percent after the news of the charges against Baazov. The stock climbed back up to more than $12 a share on Tuesday morning.
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