The New Jersey DGE has suspended PokerStars´ application for an online poker license, citing Isai Scheinberg´s association with the company as the reason.
The world´s largest online poker site – PokerStars – suffered a major blow in its attempts to re-enter the US poker market today, when the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) announced it was suspending the review of the company´s application for an online gaming license for two years.
In a statement announcing the decision, a spokesman for the DGE said that the reason for the suspension was Isia Scheinberg´s ongoing association with the company – Scheinberg having been indicted by federal prosecutors in Manhattan in 2011 for violating UIGEA and the Illegal Gambling Business Act.
Scheinberg – the PokerStars Fellow
Scheinberg stepped down from a direct management role at PokerStars last year as part of the $731 million settlement deal with the US Government, but he continues to act within the company as an advisor or
PokerStars Fellow. It was also recently reported that he had engaged former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey to act as his lawyer.
Isai Scheinberg is not a US citizen, and is not under obligation to go to the US to face the charges made against him, but as a
fugitive from the State his status was rumored to be delaying the approval of PokerStars online poker license in association with the Resorts Casino in Atlantic City.
DGE Inserts a Get-Out Clause
The suspension of PokerStars´ New Jersey license application is likely to put any plans on hold to complete the $10 million poker room planned for the Resorts Casino and potentially delay any proposed ventures into other States as the regulation of online poker in the US gains traction. However, the New Jersey DHE has inserted a get-out clause in the license application which states:
The Division, within that period, may consider a request for relief to reactivate the application if significantly changed circumstances are demonstrated at which time the Division´s investigation of PokerStars and its affiliated entities and associated individuals will be resumed to assess suitability
PokerStars to Keep Talking
In response to the announcement, PokerStars Head of Corporate Communications – Eric Hollreiser – said
We are disappointed that the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement has suspended the review of our application at this time. We note that the DGE will resume the review of our application if our circumstances change. We will remain in open dialogue with the DGE and will update them on changes in our situation as they occur.