PokerStars, currently the world’s largest online poker company, has had a tough time getting into America over the past few years. The company took a major hit back in 2011 when it was sued by Manhattan prosecutors for operating an illegal gambling business. All of their US sites were shut down and the company founder, Isai Scheinburg, was indicted for the crime. Over the following years, PokerStars spent over $700 million to fight the case, and eventually The Department of Justice reversed their decision. They decided that one of the key laws they had used for the case did not in fact make the online site illegal. After the case was closed PokerStars was returned its right to operate within US borders.
Unfortunately, US regulators still did not want to accept PokerStars, saying that they had not faced the legal issues correctly. After pressure from Wall Street, Isai Scheinburg and his son finally sold the company to Amaya for $4.9 billion. This deal included rights for both the PokerStars and Full Tilt brands. Now Amaya, led by its CEO David Baazov has been trying to use its license to operate in the US and clear the name of the PokerStars brand. Last week Amaya finally got the go ahead from The New Jersey Division of Game Enforcement to offer internet gambling in the state under their PokerStars and Full Tilt brands. This caused Amaya Company stocks to increase by a whopping 14% last Thursday, a sure sign of the turnaround of the PokerStars name.
Not having the PokerStars titan in the game has had a major impact on the New Jersey poker market over these past few years, so having the company back should have a positive effect in the state. Either way it is great news for Amaya, as they had originally thought it would be easy to get NJ licensing after the buyout. Amaya is also making efforts to get online gambling legalized in California, which as one of the largest states would have a huge impact on the online gambling economy. Getting this initial foothold in New Jersey will go a long ways towards helping the company with their future advancement plans.