The CEO of Amaya Gaming, David Baazov was positive that PokerStars would gain entry into the New Jersey online poker market before the 3rd quarter of 2015. New Jersey regulators issued an online poker license to PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker in October and also released an 89 page report outlining the entire process that was followed before a final decision was made to grant them approval to operate in the garden state.
Due to the tarnished reputation of both online poker sites prior to Black Friday there was always opposition to allowing PokerStars, the biggest online poker website in the world and Full Tilt Poker, one of the top ten poker websites in the world to operate in New Jersey. Both websites had been banned in the United States during the infamous Black Friday. Ever since Canadian based Amaya Inc acquired both sites in 2014, the company has been pushing hard to see if they can once again enter the U.S. market.
The online poker market in New Jersey has struggled ever since online poker was made legal and state gaming regulators were waiting for PokerStars to enter New Jersey and reviving the struggling market. The Department of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) in New Jersey had earlier stated that it wasn’t going to rush its approval process for PokerStars as it wanted to make sure that everything was above board and there were no loopholes in the licensing process.
The DGE conducted a detailed investigation and made a few conditional requests to Amaya Gaming in order to approve an online license. One of those requests required Amaya Inc to terminate any relationship it had with four former executives from PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. While the DGE did not name the four executives, it had conducted detailed investigations into the activities of Serge Bourenkov, Israel Rosenthal, Charles Fabian and Michael Hazel. Amaya Inc had no problems agreeing to these stipulations and as a result, the DGE approved the licensing process.
The DGE released report stated that
While the PokerStars entities operated in violation of the law between 2006 and 2011, a number of considerations—including the severe criminal and civil sanctions imposed by the federal government, the complete and irrevocable separation of the previous owners and almost all of the former executives, the acquisition of the assets by Amaya and their incorporation into a robust compliance and control environment, as well as significant changes in the Internet gaming market since 2011–-lead to a finding of suitability.