Well, so much for New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak’s September prediction that PokerStars was “only a few weeks away” from getting in the Garden State. We’re now in 2015 – four months after Lesniak’s forecast to be exact – and there’s no word on when PokerStars will enter New Jersey…until now that is.
When asked by OnlinePokerReport’s Chris Grove about the status of Stars in New Jersey, the state senator tweeted “March 2015.” So what makes him think that the world’s largest poker site is closer to getting in New Jersey? Moreover, should we believe Lesniak’s prediction this time around? Let’s discuss the answers for both of these questions below.
RAWA defeat means Christie is more open to PokerStars
After being asked what the holdup was behind Stars getting in New Jersey a few months ago, Lesniak turned his sights on Governor Chris Christie. Specifically, Lesniak believes that Christie has purposely been delaying PokerStars’ entrance as a favor to Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate with a vendetta against iGaming.
But Adelson was dealt a big blow when the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) failed during Congress’ lame-duck session. Few believe that this is the last we’ll hear of Adelson’s attempts to thwart legal online gaming. But as the following tweet from Lesniak indicates, it could be the last hurdle keeping Christie from letting Stars into his state:
“Adelson’s play to ban eGaming in Congress is dead and Poker Stars new ownership too formidable to deny.”
Is Lesniak right?
Based on his September assessment of when Stars would get in New Jersey, it’s worth questioning Lesniak’s statement now – no matter how likable the state senator is to iGaming enthusiasts. But it definitely seems like his updated projection holds more weight, especially when considering that Eilers Research analyst Adam Krejcik also believes there’s an improved chance for Stars. According to a mid-December report, Krejcik put PokerStars’ chances of landing in the Garden State in 2015 at “better than 50%.”
Lesniak’s vision all along has been for New Jersey to be a leader and innovator in the relatively new US online gaming market. And he’s certainly doing his part to make this happen by pushing for interstate/international pacts and for Stars to be accepted and licensed. But now it’s up to Christie and others to make this vision a reality, while subsequently giving the New Jersey iGaming market a huge boost.