As per a presser released on Thursday, the operator will begin offering casino and poker games in the Garden State in just over three weeks, with a testing and beta period slated to begin prior to launch.
This “soft launch” phase is expected to begin approximately one week prior to launch, at which time the PokerStarsNJ.com domain will likely be operational for a limited number of hours per day.
PokerStars NJ announces launch promotions
Players that previously held a PokerStars account will be able to create a PokerStars NJ account using their old User ID and password. Those that follow this route will be awarded a VIP Status based on previous play, as well as a play money balance. Prior account holders will also receive a number of the virtual currency StarsCoin, with the exact amount also determined by play prior to Black Friday.
Then, on Sunday, March 27 the operator will host a “We Are In New Jersey Freeroll” which will boast a $25,000 guarantee and a $5,000 first place prize.
No word yet on casino promotions. What we do know is that PokerStars will offer “an array of online casino games” at launch, including blackjack, roulette, baccarat, slots and video poker. Multi-player tables will also be available for select games.
Spin & Go’s make the cut
The screamingly popular slot/poker hybrid Spin & Go’s will be included as part of the PokerStars NJ package. PokerStars has been known to invest a large portion of its promotional spend on the format, and it wouldn’t surprise if it took a similar approach in New Jersey.
What does the future hold for PokerStars NJ?
PokerStars’ New Jersey poker offering will be segregated from the international player pool, meaning grinders will be playing exclusively against other New Jersey players. This restriction will severely hinder the operator’s ability to grow, much like it does in the ring-fenced countries of Italy, Spain and France.
That being said, it wouldn’t surprise if PokerStars eventually emerges as the state’s market share leader. Granted it will face a formidable challenge in two established brands – Party/Borgata and WSOP/888 – but PokerStars will boast a far superior platform, and should it choose to spend aggressively, enough marketing muscle to bully the competition.
In an ideal scenario, existing operators will fight back, upping the promotional ante and attracting players who may have abandoned NJ online poker when the market was plagued with technical and payment processing issues. Media attention and general hype may also lead to an overall increase in poker liquidity.
As far as casino goes, PokerStars’ ties to Resorts places it in an exceptionally strong position.
Although some might say the NJ online casino market is saturated (and they wouldn’t be wrong), latecomers Resorts Casino and sister site Mohegan Sun Casino have been embraced by the state’s gambling faithful, with revenue increasing nearly every month.
While their success can be partially attributed to the general upward trajectory of the online casino market, it’s also a result of aggressive marketing and cross-promotion. Expect Resorts to dedicate even more care to its crown jewel.