Canadian based Amaya Inc is the parent company of Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker, two of the most popular online poker websites in the world. The company has been running a strong campaign called ‘Let California Play’ in an effort to push legislators in California to legalize online poker.
California is one of the ten states in America that has been contemplating the legalization of online poker but so far no decision has been made. Legislators in California have been going back and forth for the last 18 months and a number of online poker bills are pending approval. PokerStars has joined forces with online poker lobbyists and has stepped up its efforts to push California to make a decision but that will most likely happen only in 2016.
PokerStars is also trying to gain entry into the New Jersey online poker market but is yet to obtain a license. One of the reasons why PokerStars is finding it hard to enter the New Jersey is because of its past reputation and the infamous Black Friday ruling. Now that the ownership has changed hands, Amaya Inc is pushing state gaming regulators in New Jersey to issue a license before the end of 2015.
The online poker market in New Jersey has not lived up to initial expectations and the market is in stagnation. New Jersey state gaming regulators believe that PokerStars will provide the market a much needed boost when it launches operations in the garden state. However, in order to gain a license in New Jersey, a number of legal criteria need to be met and legislators are currently looking to move past all the loopholes before awarding PokerStars a New Jersey license. PokerStars believes that it will most likely launch operations in New Jersey during the 4th quarter of 2015.
Amaya CEO David Baazov stated that legislators were trying to finalize legislation that would govern the online poker market and ensure that industry was properly monitored. In a statement, Baazov said :
“Regulation ensures license holders have the correct auditing, fraud and fund protection in place to protect consumers and allow strict government oversight. To achieve those objectives it’s important to support and lobby for clarity and regulation that will allow consumers and governments to feel secure in knowing that they’re protected by a legitimate, forward-looking industry.”
Amaya’s vice-president of corporate communications Eric Hollreiser stated that both California and New Jersey were moving in the right direction and the momentum built up so far causes PokerStars to believe that it’s a question of when and not if they enter into the United States.