Full Tilt is likely coming to New Jersey in the near future, but poker players in the state can’t sit down at their tables quite yet, no matter what messages might be popping up in their play money apps.
On Wednesday, a number of New Jersey players reported seeing a pop-up in the mobile app for Full Tilt that told them they could now download a new version of the software: one that would give them the chance to play for real money in the state.
“We are pleased to announce that we have a new version of our game software fully licensed by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, offering real-money gameplay on a fully regulated online gaming platform,” the message said.
It went on to instruct players on how they could download the software, and that they could transfer their old play money accounts to the new software, even if they didn’t want to play for real money.
Amaya Confirms That Message Was an Error
Not surprisingly, it turns out that this message was in error.
Even big supporters of online gambling like State Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union County) have estimated that Amaya Gaming won’t be able to get final approval for PokerStars and Full Tilt in New Jersey until at least March.
Still, players were excited to see a message that suggested software might be available, even if none of them were then able to actually download that software.
Later on Wednesday, Rational Group Head of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser took to Twitter to respond to the growing questions about the message.
“We’re looking into the errant message re: NJ license,” Hollresier wrote. “It is an error and we are investigating.”
Hollreiser later expanded on those words in a longer comment.
“We have been developing a real-money mobile poker app that has been submitted to the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement as part of the review process of our application to offer real money gaming under a NJ DGE license,” Hollreiser said. “Unfortunately, a bug in an update to the Full Tilt play-money poker app inadvertently included a pop-up window alerting players in New Jersey that a licensed real money offering is available.”
“To be clear,” Hollreiser added, “We continue to be in dialogue with State officials but have not been granted permission to participate in real money gaming in New Jersey at this time. We apologize to the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement and to any players who were inconvenienced by this mistake.”
Message Hints at Expectations for Launch
Still, the fact that the message exists at all did give some hints about the future for Full Tilt in the state. It’s clear that Amaya is preparing to launch, and that they’re ready to alert players at a moment’s notice.
That would make sense: Amaya has been hoping that PokerStars and Full Tilt would be approved for several months now, and as far as anyone can tell, they’re still likely to get licensed at some point, even if the delays have been frustrating.
Because the DGE knows Amaya is ramping up to launch in New Jersey, it’s unlikely that there would be any consequences for this error.
Certainly, it’s embarrassing for the company, which wants to paint itself as the most experienced and trustworthy name in online poker, but there was no real harm done to anyone because of the mistake.
The applications of PokerStars and Full Tilt have been under review by the DGE ever since the takeover of the Rational Group by Amaya Gaming last year.
Previous to that, the Rational Group had applied for Internet gambling licenses back in 2003, because online gambling was launched in New Jersey.
However, state regulators suspended that application, citing the presence of executives in the company that still had outstanding legal issues with the US government.