New Jersey Holding PokerStars at Bay for up to Two Years

The Division of Gamng Enforcement in New Jersey has issued a statement confirming they have suspended the internet gaming application of PokerStars for a two year period.

DGE’s official statement reads as follows:

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 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.   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 State following the enactment of UIGEA.

 

PokerStars founder, Isai Scheinberg was named in the 2011 SDNY Black Friday indictments targeting offshore internet gaming operators. His personal case is still unresolved. PokerStars, the world’s largest internet poker site, settled their company’s civil ligation with SDNY in July 2012, admitting no wrongdoing. As part of that settlement, Scheinberg agreed to give up any directorship or managerial role within the company, although that was a stipulation that could be revisited at some future date.  It appears that although the application in New Jersey has been suspended, that with significant changes at the company, that suspension as well, might be revisited.

Eric Hollreiser, Director of Corporate Communications at PokerStars offered the following comment:

“We are disappointed that the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement has suspended the review of our application at this time. 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.”

The law requires that internet gaming permits be only issued to brick and mortar casinos in Atlantic City and PokerStars had partnered with Resorts Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City to bring online gaming to New Jersey. After launching just a few weeks ago, Caesars, Ballys (owned by Caesars), Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza and Borgata are the only casinos with active online poker sites (WSOP, 888, Ultimate Gaming, Betfair, Borgata Poker and Party Poker respectively). Harrahs (also owned by Caesars), Tropicana and its partner VirginGaming offer casino sites. Ultimate offers casino-style gaming as well as poker.  Tropicana has plans to bring online poker to their site in the future and Golden Nugget remains in soft-launch mode until they receive formal full approval.

This article will be updated as new details become available.

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