PokerStars license process drawing to close

Analyst Sees Movement For PokerStars In NJ’s Online Poker Market By End Of September

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An analyst who closely follows Amaya, parent company of PokerStars, believes that “a NJ license could be a major catalyst” for the company “in the next 20 days.”

That’s per Chad Benyon of Macquarie Research.

Benyon made the comment in a note that followed meetings with key executives from Amaya and Rational, including Amaya CEO David Baazov and Interim Rational Group CEO Michael Hazel.

The timeline suggested by Benyon falls at the very limit of the timeline for approval forecasted by Baazov back in March.

How long from license to launch?

Should this latest prognostication prove prescient, how long will it take PokerStars NJ to be up and running?

I’d put it at weeks, not months.

Why not days?

It’s not quite as simple as flipping a switch. Despite having quite a bit of time to prepare for launch, there are still some functions that can’t be completely prepped in advance. PokerStars isn’t the only switch that needs to be flipped – geolocation, payment, and other third-party providers will also need to be brought online.

And, like all sites in the NJ regulated online gambling market, PokerStars will have to go through an initial “soft launch” period of a few days before offering a full product to consumers.

A full year of delays

While the wait between license and launch will no doubt feel like a long one for players, it pales in comparison to the nearly full year that has passed since Amaya filed for the transactional waiver that would allow the PokerStars brand to operate in New Jersey.

At the time of that filing, approval was expected to be a relatively rapid process. Twelve months and a robust suite of conspiracy theories later, we’re still left wondering exactly what it was that turned the situation from sure thing to saga.

Where the NJ online poker market goes post-Stars

The general consensus is that PokerStars will both expand the overall New Jersey online poker market – a market that has been in freefall for 2015 – and also take share from competitors.

Analysis of the NJ situation post-PokerStars was complicated recently by the sale of – operator of the Party / Borgata online poker network – to GVC.

GVC’s plans for the poker arm of – and the operationally distinct US branch of that arm – are unclear at this point.

Many expect that Amaya will acquire some or all of the poker asset, although that conclusion remains pure speculation following Amaya’s exit from a cooperative bid with GVC for in July.

- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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