NJ DGE Reveals Findings and Issues Conditions for PokerStars License

Amaya Inc. has a list of conditions that they must follow in order to have PokerStars reenter the United States.

New details have been released regarding PokerStars’ New Jersey license. On Friday, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released a pair of documents connected to their license. The first was the transactional waiver issued to Amaya and the other was the report detailing the investigation of Amaya’s purchase of PokerStars in August 2014.

After reading the reports, it becomes clear that the DGE left no stone unturned regarding their investigation. Also, we learn that there’s still a little work left to be done by PokerStars before they can actually launch in New Jersey.

PokerStars License Comes With Conditions

Most transactional waivers filed by the DGE are fairly standard with your expected legal jargon that includes that the waiver is only good for six months, etc. However, this time around, the TE is quite extensive and lays out numerous conditions that PokerStars must meet before they will be allowed to launch.

First, PokerStars must release funds totaling $427,000 to New Jersey, the amount still unclaimed by New Jersey residents after Black Friday. PokerStars had paid out over $5 million to New Jersey players but the rest has been in limbo. The state will collect these funds and we assume they will try and distribute them to their rightful owners.

Next, PokerStars is not allowed to associate with the following people in any manner:

• Isai Scheinberg
• Mark Scheinberg
• Pinhas Schapira
• Paul Telford
• Paul Tate
• Nelson Burtnick
• Ray Bitar
• Rafe Furst
• Chris Ferguson

If any of these individuals contacts Amaya or any of their employees for any reason, the DGE must be notified. They are not even permitted to own shares in Amaya without the DGE’s approval.

Also, there are still four members of Amaya management that the DGE found unsuitable and these individuals must be terminated by January 31, 2016 or PokerStars will not be allowed to operate in the state.

Other conditions basically require that the DGE be made aware of any future expansions regarding iGaming. The DGE will also receive minutes and associated documentation from any board meetings or meetings of the Compliance or Audit committees. PokerStars must also turn over any business records for the DGE to inspect when they ask.

Report Confirms that PokerStars is Reformed Under Amaya

The second document released by the DGE was an 89-page report detailing their investigation into the Amaya purchase of PokerStars in August 2014. Part of the interview included 71 sworn interviews with Amaya employees that worked for PokerStars and associated companies pre-Black Friday.

Ultimately, the DGE’s decision came down to two things. First, with the exception of the four mentioned earlier, Amaya has proven to their satisfaction that PokerStars has shed all undesirable elements and is running as an Amaya company. Tainted assets have been shed and the company is suitable to offer iGaming in New Jersey.

Also, the settlement between PokerStars and the Department of Justice played into the decision. The settlement allows PokerStars to operate in the United States provided they only operate where it is legal to do so. Also, the DGE cited that Amaya’s decision to withdraw from 34 “grey market” countries was another reason to grant them a license.

Findings Could Make PokerStars Path Easier in Other States

The DGE’s findings may have made it easier for PokerStars to expand into other states. States now have a precedent to refer to regarding PokerStars and they can both review the findings in the report and even contact the DGE should they desire.

In essence, DGE has done the work for other states as far as vetting PokerStars and even supplying conditions that other states can copy. They have setup a blueprint for PokerStars to become licensed and now it is up to states to decide whether to follow their lead or try and reinvent the wheel.

James Guill

About

Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.