That’s per comments from Amaya CEO David Baazov. In response to a question regarding New Jersey on a March 31 earnings call, Baazov replied:
“As it relates to New Jersey I would say that we feel that this is coming […] we would expect to receive and launch in the next quarter.”
OPR has confirmed with Amaya that Baazov was referring to the third quarter of 2015 when he said “the next quarter.”
Read a full transcript of the call and select highlights here.
Those following the U.S. regulated online poker industry closely can be forgiven for feeling like they’ve heard this all before.
Since Amaya’s acquisition of PokerStars wrapped up in August 2014, several launch dates – via politicians, pundits and sources close to the companies involved – have been predicted and passed.
But I’d note that:
Contrast the quote from today’s call:
As it relates to New Jersey I would say that we feel that this is coming […] we would expect to receive and launch in the next quarter.
… with Baazov’s only comment on New Jersey during the company’s last earnings call in November:
Regarding New Jersey, which has already regulated online gaming, we are in the process of seeking our transactional waiver for our B2C business in that state. That process is ongoing. We cannot comment on that until its conclusion.
That makes Baazov’s willingness to assign a firm target date to New Jersey launch a meaningful development.
Should Baazov’s target date prove accurate, it would mark the end of a saga spanning nearly three full years:
There’s little doubt that the entry of PokerStars and Full Tilt will provide a boost to the market. But the structural issues present in the market – most notably payment processing and a population that is likely capable of supporting only a single, healthy online network – will remain.
And even a significant boost relative to the market’s current performance (think 50%) would still serve to put the NJ online poker market back around the point where it peaked in early 2014.
The New Jersey announcement was one of several big pieces of news from today’s call. Amaya also announced that PokerStars has taken their first sports bet and outlined definitive plans to enter the daily fantasy sports market.
Amaya’s approach to DFS as outlined appears to be a mix of buy and build, with a tight timeline for launch. Baazov stated that “the goal is to be up before the NFL season starts.”