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New Jersey Lawmaker: PokerStars Licensing 'Long Overdue'

Move To License Site Could Increase Atlantic City Tourism, Says Lawmaker


PokerStars was given approval from New Jersey casino regulators late last week to eventually operate in the state and the lawmaker who spearheaded the efforts to legalize online gaming several in the Garden State years ago couldn’t be happier about it.

“It’s about time; it was long overdue,” New Jersey Sen. Ray Lesniak told Card Player on Monday. Lesniak said he doesn’t know when PokerStars would launch in the state, but he said “the sooner the better.” PokerStars said last week that it “anticipates providing additional details of our launch plans in the near future.”

PokerStars and its sister site Full Tilt are owned by Amaya Gaming Group, which already had approval in New Jersey for other business activity, but not for operating the aforementioned online poker sites. Both PokerStars and Full Tilt have expanded beyond poker recently.

Through August, online poker revenue this year in New Jersey was $16,190,596, down from $21,074,132 during the same period in 2014. The other online casino games have been strong, however, bringing overall I-gaming revenue in the Garden State to $96,723,723 through August, up from $83,668,485 from the year before.

Peer-to-peer poker play is expected to get a serious shot in the arm in the future, but what excites Lesniak most about the licensing of PokerStars is actually the possibility of increased tourism to Atlantic City, which saw several casino closures last year.

“What intrigues me about Internet poker is to have online tournaments with the finals live in Atlantic City,” Lesniak said. For now, New Jersey online poker sites can only accept players physically located within the state, but that could change, as Lesniak said he would “love to advance” legislation to share liquidity with international player pools.

“The only legislative change that would be necessary would be to change the tax structure,” Lesnaik said. “Obviously it would not work if there was a tax from where the person was playing from and in the state of New Jersey.”

Lesniak, who is looking at running for governor, said “what [the process] needs more is a state leader who would aggressively pursue the needed agreements with other countries to operate in concert.” Before that, New Jersey could compact with other U.S. states that have I-gaming industries. The licensing of PokerStars in New Jersey is expected to help Internet betting discussions in states like California, Pennsylvania and New York.



over 6 years ago

pretty simple. as soon as you can connect with the rest of the world, poker players will actually come to nj. the #1 state people are moving out of. but they wont come if its the same as it is now.


over 6 years ago

this is extremely overdue. at least one person in new jersey knew what they were doing. other morons dont get it. you make more tax revenue if you have pokerstars. I HOPE YOURE LISTENING CALIFORNIA!!! get your $*!* together. bring us the big sites and the customers will be happy which will give you more money to waste somewhere else.


over 6 years ago

Money Talks ... Bullsh*t Walks ... When State suffers enough and need money, they change their laws to allow more gambling in their state, when they outlawed it before.