By Wendeen H. Eolis
Poker Player Newspaper
November 8, 2013

Update Bulletin: PokerStars Faces Red Lights in NJ

After months of investigation by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the regulators have made their determinations and are  expected to step up to the plate today with announcements of the companies licensed for Internet gambling in NJ, on the opening date of November 26.

The lead up to the announcement has been accompanied by plenty of turmoil among warring parties.  Throughout this period, however, PokerStars and its boosters including various state officials, PS private lobbyists, and high placed friends, have exuded confidence without interruption, only to hear of their failure to secure a license at this time.

Regulators are said to have railed against pressure to turn a blind eye on the outstanding criminal case against PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg, arising from his indictment dating back to 2011. Word has also leaked out through sources close to officials in Atlantic City and in the Statehouse of growing concern as to the role of PokerStars founder in the Company’s current activities.

While Isai Scheinberg is described by the Company as a “Fellow” and not part of management various opponents to PS licensing are continuing to argue that Scheinberg still operates within the Company as if he is in charge, with respect to matters that interest him. If true, this would violate the Company’s settlement agreement with the US Department of Justice in connection with its legal troubles arising from the indictment and companion civil case U.S. v Scheinberg et al.

These cases which have come to be known as the Black Friday prosecution of online gaming in America, have figured heavily during the investigatory period of offshore company applicants.  Bwin, Party Poker is among those who have escaped the snub and will be in the initial mix, giving the Company that had been the largest player before the enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a chance to regain its stature among American bettors. Party Gaming, unlike PokerStars pulled out of America on the day UIGEA was signed by the President — Friday the 13th of October 2006.

Understanding that officials do not like to be preempted in announcements, even if they cannot contain their information securely, readers are cautioned that the scheduled announcements for today,  regarding the full list of companies granted licenses is not guaranteed, but the outcome as to PS absence and bwin-Party inclusion at the starting gate is worth betting the ranch.  This assertion is made based upon confirmation from “multiple protagonists” with direct knowledge.