Thursday, October 01, 2015

PS Gets the OK from NJ

My first thought last night upon hearing the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement had authorized Amaya to begin operating both PokerStars and Full Tilt in the Garden State was “finally.”

That such an announcement would be coming is something we began hearing not that long after New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed the state’s online gambling bill in late February 2013. Since then the likelihood of PokerStars’ return to the U.S. via Jersey has swung back and forth between just-around-the-corner to not-bloody-likely a few times before several hints over the summer punctuated by the phrase “end of the 3Q” made late September seem a real possibility again.

My second thought was that when news finally did arrive it coincidentally did so on the anniversary of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 being passed by the House and Senate (as noted in yesterday’s post). Something oddly symmetrical there, I suppose, given how the UIGEA’s history and that of PokerStars (and Full Tilt) have been intertwined over the last nine years.

After that I found myself less specifically thinking in generally positive terms about the news, not necessarily because of what will immediately come of it but rather how longer term the story of “U.S. Online Poker 2.0” will surely be a lot more interesting than it would have been otherwise. Felt like there was very little to look forward to before; now, perhaps, there are at least more possibilities, including more good ones for U.S. players wanting to play online.

That said, it’s been so long since U.S. Online Poker 1.0 -- an era that ended mid-April 2011 -- it is hard to think all that concretely about how last night’s news might conceivably lead to the reintroduction of the game online in more than just a few states here and there.

But it does feel a little like after enduring several orbits of garbage cards while sitting behind a dwindling stack, a hand with some potential has finally arrived. The attention is newly engaged, but the hand still has to be played skillfully. And luck still matters, too, going forward.

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