Many experts hoped that the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement would issue a license to PokerStars by the end of the year. They theorized that allowing the online poker titan in the market would boost profitability and spur growth. However, a recent statement indicates that the company’s application is unlikely to be reviewed until next year.
The review process has lasted for over five months, which is considerably longer than other gaming providers. Amaya Gaming, the parent company of PokerStars, has requested a status update and explanation for the delay. However, the gaming regulator hasn’t responded to its request.
The delay has created bickering between some of the state’s lawmakers. Senator Raymond Lesniak, a 31-year veteran of the New Jersey Senate, blamed Governor Chris Christie for holding up the process. Lesniak accused Christie of delaying the license to cater to the whims of billionaire casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson. Adelson, a campaign donor for Governor Christie, is currently trying to ban online gambling. Lesniak said that this has created a conflict of interest that has stalled the review of PokerStars application.
However, Lesniak’s accusations appear to be a bit off base. The Division of Gaming Enforcement is an independent government agency, which means that Christie can’t legally influence its decisions. As a New Jersey attorney, Lesniak is presumably familiar with the separation of powers that bars the governor from interfering with these decisions. Lesniak may be indicating that Christie was indirectly involved in the process, but hasn’t provided any evidence to support his theory.
The delay is discouraging for PokerStars fans in New Jersey. However, there is still a strong possibility that PokerStars will be issued a license and create a domain in New Jersey in the near future.