PokerStars and Wynn no nearer to NJ launch

PokerStars and Wynn no nearer to NJ launch

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
New Jersey authorities are probing Amaya's purchase of PokerStars

New Jersey’s fledgling online gaming industry has been rocked by a new twist to PokerStars’ protracted licence application and Wynn Interactive putting its entry into the state on hold.

David Rebuck, director of New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), said the regulator has delayed its decision over whether to award an online gambling licence to PokerStars because of an ongoing investigation into the brand’s acquisition by Amaya.

Amaya chief executive David Baazov said earlier this year that he hoped PokerStars would be operating in New Jersey by the end of September, but Rebuck told Global Gaming Business that the delay is down to a “thorough, comprehensive review” of last year’s $1.4bn (€1.25bn) takeover.

“We’ve done 80 sworn interviews, we’ve travelled to half a dozen foreign countries,” Rebuck said. “I’m not going to be the first person to sabotage the work of this Division.

“We’re going to do this in a very professional way, which will be published to the world, because whatever decision we come down on will be scrutinised, and some will hate it and some will love it.”

While New Jersey’s regulators take their time assessing PokerStars’ suitability to operate, Wynn - which originally applied for a licence in July 2013 and was approved to launch with Caesars Interactive earlier this month  – has written to the NJDGE to formally withdraw its request.

In the letter, Wynn Interactive’s lawyer stated that “at this time, Wynn does not wish to proceed with its application. Therefore, kindly accept this correspondence as a formal request to withdraw such application”.

New Jersey online gaming was up 16.1 per cent year-on-year in August at $12.2m, but down 2.5 per cent on July’s figures.

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