PokerStars had to fire four executives to secure New Jersey licence

12 October 2015

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has revealed that it was only able to award an online gambling licence to PokerStars and Full Tilt after parent company Amaya agreed to fire four senior executives.

As reported by iGaming Business, the Amaya-owned brands were earlier this month handed licences to begin operating online gambling services in the US state of New Jersey.

Confirmation of the licences marked the end of a lengthy campaign by the brands to secure a presence in the state, a process that took so long due to an ongoing investigation of Amaya’s acquisition of Rational Group, the parent company of both brands.

However, the New Jersey DGE has revealed in an 89-page report on the process that it only granted the licences after Amaya agreed to let four senior members of staff go.

The report stated that the state regulator requested that Amaya “separate from employment on or before January 30, 2016, four individuals identified by the Division as having failed to establish the requisite good character, honesty and integrity required by the [New Jersey Casino Control] Act due to their involvement in the business activities of the PokerStars Entities between the enactment of UIGEA and Black Friday”.

Although the regulator did not identify the four members of staff by name, it did state it had carried out plenary investigations into four senior executives that had ties to the prior regime before Amaya acquired the brands as part of its purchase of Rational Group.

Amaya has also agreed to inform the regulator if any of the executives attempt to “influence, suggest or communicate with any employee of Amaya” over the firm’s activities.

Amaya must also provide the state regulatory body with details of all future meetings of its board and compliance and audit committees.

In addition, Amaya said it had “irrevocably and totally extinguishing the ownership interest of Isai and Mark Scheinberg” as well as ensuring that the Scheinbergs and any other tainted executives “will have no further involvement in the operation or management of their former companies”.

Related article: PokerStars and Full Tilt secure approval in New Jersey