New Jersey granted online gambling licenses to nearly a dozen different gaming providers, including 888 Casino which is the online partner of Bally’s casino in Atlantic City. However, the approval was not unanimous for all licensing applicants, most notably PokerStars which expectedly will not be approved before the online gambling launch date of November 26.
Under New Jersey law, online gambling providers must partner with Atlantic City casinos to provide regulated gambling domains to the Garden State. PokerStars, after a failed bid to acquire the Atlantic Club casino, was successful in partnering with the Resorts Casino, thus meeting one of the main requirements to provide online gambling in New Jersey.
But the memories of the Black Friday poker scandal are pressed onto the minds of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. PokerStars was one of the sites at the centre of the Black Friday scandal, and was forced to pay a settlement of $731 million with the US Department of Justice to bring the case to a close.
The settlement exonerated the PokerStars domain of its alleged crimes, but the charges against Isai Scheinberg, the Israeli-Canadian who founded PokerStars, still remain. Scheinberg fled North America following the Black Friday scandal after being charged with money laundering, operating an illegal gambling business, and violating the US Unlawful Internet Betting Act of 2006.
The New Jersey DGE is reportedly refusing to grant an online gambling license to PokerStars without Scheinberg’s surrender to US authorities. A consultant close to the DGE says PokerStars is unlikely to receive a gambling license in New Jersey without divesting itself of remaining ties to Scheinberg.
“PokerStars will not simply coast into the New Jersey internet gambling market.”
Scheinberg’s son, Mark Scheinberg, remains CEO of PokerStars, and paid an out of court settlement of $50 million to end a personal investigation by US authorities into his activities back in June. The DGE has yet to officially request Scheinberg’s termination, but is willing to withhold an online gambling license so long as the Scheinberg family is associated with PokerStars.