PokerStars Attempting To Return NJ Balances From Black Friday
Online Poker Report

PokerStars To NJ Online Poker Players: Claim Existing Balances Now, Or They Go To The State

PokerStars New Jersey launch date
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PokerStars appears to be headed toward a 2016 launch in New Jersey based on an email sent to former players located in the state.

PokerStars contacting NJ players with unclaimed balances

The news first came to light at PocketFives.com, where a member posted an email received from PokerStars. Users who played at PokerStars prior to Black Friday in 2011 who have an existing balance on PokerStars are reportedly being contacted to attempt to return funds to them.

From the posted email:

We first informed you in April 2011 that you have an account with PokerStars with the balance above and how to obtain the funds. To date you have not claimed the funds. As we recently have received approval in New Jersey and anticipate beginning to offer real-money online gaming soon, we wanted to provide you with the opportunity to obtain the funds.

Please contact us immediately to obtain the funds, either in person, in writing (to PokerStars, c/o Fox Rothschild, LLP, 1301 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 400, Atlantic City, New Jersey 08401), or by email to [email protected] You can also do this by logging into your PokerStars account. You’ll then be able to request the return of your remaining balance which we’ll process as quickly as possible. Our review of the account Briangrim310 indicates that there has been no contact or activity in your account for at least three years. Under New Jersey’s Uniform Unclaimed Property Act, we are required to make a diligent attempt to renew contact. If contact is not renewed we are required to transfer your account to the custody of the State of New Jersey. The State is required to maintain custody of these funds until you come forward to claim them from the State. The State must pay you interest when the funds are returned.

If contact is not renewed by December 28 2015, we are required by law to transfer these funds to the custody of the State of New Jersey. Once the funds are transferred to the State, you will need to submit a claim to the New Jersey Unclaimed Property Department to recover your funds in accordance with the New Jersey’s Uniform Unclaimed Property Act.

Why now for PokerStars and NJ balances?

Last month, the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement released the results of its investigation into Amaya in its efforts to become licensed in the state.

In receiving a New Jersey license, one of several conditions that Amaya had to abide by was attempting to pay back all New Jersey PokerStars players who still had money in their accounts, according to the NJDGE report:

Secondarily, the following actions further support the Division’s decision to issue a Transactional Waiver Order to the Amaya entities:

Amaya’s agreement to escheat to the State of New Jersey all funds remaining in any PokerStars’ accounts for New Jersey players received prior to April 15, 2011, before commencing Internet gaming operations in New Jersey.

That was one of several conditions outlined by the NJDGE, including the need to terminate four employees who were deemed not suitable to work at a company with ties to regulated gaming.

All of that adds up to 2016 for PokerStars NJ

Adding two and two together, the email by PokerStars would seem to indicate that it will not be launching until next year. A condition of PokerStars and Amaya returning to NJ is dealing with outstanding player balances, and that process won’t be complete until the end of this year, at the earliest.

After receiving a license to operate in September, early 2016 had always seemed like the most likely timeframe for a PokerStars NJ launch:

  • Amaya likely wants to keep its costs down for the rest of 2015’s final quarter.
  • Amaya and PokerStars were unlikely ready to launch immediately based on the long process of getting licensed.
  • The new year is an ideal time to launch a new room, based on past observed trends at New Jersey online poker sites.

A few more months will not seem like much of a wait for PokerStars, whose efforts to enter the regulated NJ gaming market actually began in the fall of 2012. The process featured a number of stops and starts and included the sale of PokerStars to Amaya and the lengthy NJDGE investigation into Amaya’s and PokerStars’ suitability.

Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. He has played poker recreationally for his entire adult life and has written about poker since 2008.
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