Amaya remains confident over PokerStars presence in US

21 September 2015

Amaya has reiterated its confidence that its PokerStars online gaming brand will secure a presence in the US market, with the service due to launch in New Jersey at some point in the third quarter.

PokerStars is yet to relaunch real-money operations in the US due to its history as a ‘bad actor’, with the brand having allowed Americans to gamble online after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 declared gambling transactions to be illegal.

Since the re-introduction of legalised online gambling in certain states, various major operators have gone live with internet services, although PokerStars is yet to re-enter the market.

However, following its acquisition by Amaya last year, PokerStars’ new parent company has been openly positive about its chances of returning to the US.

David Baazov, chief executive of Amaya, has moved to reiterate this approach, telling the Financial Post newspaper that PokerStars is on course to launch in New Jersey during the third quarter of this year.

“Regulation ensures license holders have the correct auditing, fraud and fund protection in place to protect consumers and allow strict government oversight,” Baazov said.

“To achieve those objectives it’s important to support and lobby for clarity and regulation that will allow consumers and governments to feel secure in knowing that they’re protected by a legitimate, forward-looking industry.”

Baazov’s declaration comes despite uncertainty remaining over the expansion of online gaming in the US.

New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware are the only states to have introduced legal online gaming markets, despite other states having been linked to similar moves.

California is one of the states that has been most heavily linked with launching a regulated online gaming market, with a number of bills backing such a move being put forward.

The state’s latest legislative session ended earlier this month with various online poker bills being left in limbo.

However, despite this uncertainty, Eric Hollreiser, vice-president of corporate communications at Amaya, said that the company remains confident over the chances of California launching a regulated market.

Hollreiser said: “We see a lot of momentum and it’s really a question of when not if, and obviously we’re hoping that it’s sooner rather than later.”

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