PokerStars New Jersey has officially launched. After a five-year absence, the world’s largest poker site is finally back on American soil.
Prior to Black Friday in 2011, PokerStars was the most popular poker site in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of US citizens played on the site which is now owned by Amaya Inc.
Then, the US Department of Justice forced PokerStars, along with other major poker sites, out of the country in April 2011. That made it impossible for Americans to play poker online at the biggest poker sites unless they left the country.
But now, at least in one state, PokerStars is back in America. New Jersey residents and visitors can now access the site at any time of the day. PokerStars hosted a soft launch on March 16, but limited the number of players and accessible hours until Monday’s full launch.
Players are only able to access the site while located within New Jersey borders. New Jersey residents cannot play at PokerStars while located in other states. But non-New Jersey residents will be able to access the site while visiting the Garden State.
Excitement in the Poker Community
Chris Moneymaker, a Team PokerStars pro and 2003 World Series of Poker champion who parlayed a PokerStars satellite into the Main Event, is one of the non-New Jersey members who plans on visiting the state to play poker online. Moneymaker is a resident of Tennessee.
“Just downloaded the @PokerStars mobile app for NJ,” the champ said on Twitter just after landing in Philadelphia, a city in Pennsylvania which borders the state of New Jersey.
Moneymaker isn’t the only poker player excited with the return of PokerStars to America. Many others, including unknown grinders and big names alike, have voiced their excitement on social media.
Watching with a Close Eye
PokerStars entering New Jersey doesn’t mean the major poker site will soon arrive in other states. In fact, the likelihood of any other state picking up PokerStars in the near future is slim.
But that doesn’t undermine the importance of a major online poker site entering the United States, even if only in one state. All other states considering legalizing online poker will be taking notice of the success (or failure) PokerStars brings to the poker industry in New Jersey.
Currently, only three states have legal, licensed online poker (New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware). Pennsylvania lawmakers appear to be close to passing a bill, potentially giving the US a fourth state with legalized online poker this year.
California has also reconsidered a poker bill and many experts are confident a bill will pass either this year or by early 2017. States such as California and Pennsylvania will most certainly be assessing the potential financial gain from legalizing online poker based partially on PokerStars New Jersey profits.