PokerStars suffers a major setback to re-entering the US online poker market.
Online poker giant PokerStars will not be issued an online gambling license in New Jersey for at least two years unless “significant changes” are made.
The news was announced in a statement by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, saying it had suspended the review of PokerStars' application for an online poker license and will not revisit it until the end of 2015 at the earliest.
But the NJDGE also included language saying that if changes are made, PokerStars's application could be reconsidered before the two year limit is up.
“The Division of Gaming Enforcement has determined that the application of Rational Services Limited (PokerStars) casino service industry licensure (CSIE) will be held in a suspended status for a period of two years,” the NJDGE said in a statement.
“The Division, within that period, may consider a request for relief to reactivate the application if significantly changed circumstances are demonstrated at which time the Division’s investigation of PokerStars and its affiliated entities and associated individuals will be resumed to assess suitability.”
Isai Scheinberg Biggest Problem for NJ Regulators
The NJDGE went on to describe how PokerStars' continued association with PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg was the major reason for the suspension, and the main condition that has to change for PokerStars to have a shot at a license in New Jersey.
“The Division’s determination is based primarily on the unresolved federal indictment against Isai Scheinberg for the alleged violation of federal gambling statutes, namely, the Illegal Gambling Business Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), and the involvement of certain PokerStars executives with Internet gaming operations in the United States following the enactment of UIGEA,” the New Jersey DGE stated.
New Jersey is the largest state to regulate online gambling so far and estimates put the new industry's projected first-year revenue in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
PokerStars has stated that they will remain in contact with the NJDGE to keep them apprised of changing conditions.
“We are disappointed that the N.J. Division of Gaming Enforcement has suspended the review of our application at this time,” said PokerStars spokesman Eric Hollreiser.
“We note that the DGE will resume the review of our application if our circumstances change. We will remain in open dialogue with the DGE and will update them on changes in our situation as they occur.”