The Atlantic City Boardwalk casino hotels which also deliver online gambling for New Jersey look out over the Atlantic Ocean. And this time of year, offshore storms can be seen on the horizon headed to the Jersey coast. But the virtual storm which is currently brewing has nothing to do with mother nature, and everything to do with the possible return of a US poker providing giant to the Atlantic City Internet poker industry. Amaya Gaming recently announced an agreement with poker titan PokerStars with the intent to deliver an online poker product to those US states which have legalized and regulate cyber gambling. And in roughly three months, the partnership will be formalized. Why should this be of particular note to the Atlantic City-based Internet gambling providers which service the state? Because Amayaalready has an extensive footprint in New Jersey.
The PokerStars New Jersey Countdown Has Begun
In less than 90 days, the Amaya Gaming acquisition of the Rational Group will be a reality. This means that the owner of PokerStars (the largest online poker site in the world) will team up with Amaya to create the largest publicly held gambling company on the planet. Not only that, but the PokerStars application to provide its product in New Jersey, and across the US, could meet with success despite past transgressions. As you sit down to a wonderful feast and NFL football on Thanksgiving day, PokerStars could very well have already begun to offer virtual poker to Atlantic City and New Jersey residents. And that should have the current online casino and poker providers in the Garden State nervous at best.
The NJ Online Poker Market Has No Clear, Consistent Leader
As recently as 2012, PokerStars claimed more than 50 million registered users. And that was without the attractive US market. By partnering with the respected Canadian gaming firm Amaya, PokerStars adds instant credibility to its already proven experience in delivering a world-class virtual poker product. And there are a lot of reasons for Amaya to be confident about pretty much immediately taking over the number one position in New Jersey online poker. Players have shown little loyalty to the current state-based New Jersey online gambling operations. Cash game poker traffic has also been in a “back and forth” sort of state, with players moving from one virtual poker room to the next. WSOP.com NJ has never owned more than 40% of the cash game poker market in the state, but carries the most traffic. And after the 2-site PartyPoker NJ network was about to claim significant cash game market share, they dropped to 43% from over 50%.
Fractured NJ Online Poker Market is Ripe For the Picking
The poker picture in the cyber card rooms of New Jersey is fractured, and this young industry could definitely benefit from a recognizable presence like PokerStars. The current non-US providers of poker, sportsbook and casino gambling which support players from New Jersey and throughout the US are far and away the biggest players in the US online gambling industry. And they still provide a legally licensed and attractive option for NJ online gamblers. But since Chris Moneymaker won a 2003 $39 World Series of Poker online satellite tournament qualifier at the PokerStars website, and then went on to claim the WSOP Main Event title and $2.5 million, PokerStars has been the preferred virtual choice of US poker players. An entry into the New Jersey marketplace, one which shows no consistent favorite, would probably see Amaya/PokerStars as the immediate state-regulated leader.
That would probably entice Nevada into allowing PokerStars back into its fold as well, as the Nevada online poker revenue and traffic numbers have been less than impressive. And with Pennsylvania and California probably only months away from passing some type of Internet gambling legislation, PokerStars is poised to potentially profit massively by perfectly timing their entrance into the growing US online casino and poker industry. The 90 day countdown has begun, and unless the current state-based New Jersey cyber poker rooms can begin to solidify their positions in the marketplace, legitimately licensed and certified offshore poker rooms and casinos will still remain the popular choice. At least until PokerStars arrives.