The widely publicised purchase of PokerStars by the Canadian company Amaya has led to talks between the new owners of the world’s largest online poker room and the New Jersey Gaming Division in an attempt to seal a New Jersey online poker license for Stars. The $4.9 Billion deal sees Amaya make the purchase of The Rational Group which owns both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker and with PokerStars already having a deal in place with the Atlantic City Resorts Casino Hotel, that purchase could mean that their 2 year suspension on their licence application could be changed.
The Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement David Rebuck has revealed that talks have already begun and he stated that, “We've had discussions with Amaya to reactivate the application, and we plan to begin discussions with them tomorrow (Thursday), we'll look at whatever they bring over. I think in the long run it will be a good story for New Jersey.” No new licensing documents have been filed however that is expected to happen in the next week or two, should talks go well.
Online poker in New Jersey is at present not delivering anywhere near the tax revenue that was expected from it, and it’s now levelled off, with growth seemingly stagnant. The relatively small population and the fact that many poker rooms are competing in that same small space means that liquidity and player volume at each of the rooms remains low, and for many observers it’s hard to see how PokerStars can help breathe any life into the market. They will of course want to be a part of any and every online poker venture in the US and entering the NJ online poker arena will be a massive step forward for them after being on the sidelines from the off. The deal with Amaya will be finalized in September 2014 and then, should they be cleared for the New Jersey license, a few months of preparation and testing would of course be required, and maybe 2015 is the year that sees the giant of online poker make a return to the US.