Pokerstars has confirmed that they are to begin a soft launch in the state of New Jersey, on the 16th of March 2016, a week before their national launch, in the USA, on the 21st of March 2016.
PokerStars, the largest online poker cardroom in the world, suffered a federal shutdown, along with several other sites of similar nature on the 15th of April, 2011, for allegedly violating federal bank fraud and money laundering laws. After a year-long legal battle, the charges were dropped on the 31st of July, 2012. After further investigation, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement finally granted Amaya Incorporated, the parent company of PokerStars and FullTilt, approval to launch both the services in NJ, in October, 2015.
In August 2014, Amaya Incorporated acquired Rational Group Limited, which then was the parent company for PokerStars and Full Tilt. Since the acquisition, Amaya has been gunning for both the brands to go live in New Jersey.
The first steps
Finally, to the delight of fans everywhere, last month, PokerStars announced that they would go live in New Jersey on the 21st of March, 2016, at the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. However the operator has now confirmed that before their full inauguration, they would undergo a brief soft launch for five days.
Over this period, a maximum of 500 players will be able to partake in real money games on the PokerStars software but only whilst in New Jersey. For the first two days, 16th and 17th of March, players will be restricted to playtime of just eight hours, between 1600 hrs till midnight. On the third day, 18th March, game time will be doubled to sixteen hours, starting at 0800 hrs and still ending at midnight. The last two days of the soft launch, March 19th and 20th, will allow gamers to play around the clock, for the full 24 hours.
Like nothing happened before
This is good news for former customers of PokerStars; they will be able to resume gameplay on their existing accounts that were in use before the nationwide ban; they can also sign up with new accounts instead; new customers will obviously be able to open new accounts. Customers who choose to reopen their old accounts will have the option of converting all remaining Frequent Player Points to the StarsCoins PokerStars VIP currency; in addition, they will also be given the chance to become VIP members, subject to their existing level of play.
What is wrong is surely the signal being sent out here. It seems like there will always be a buyout way of UIGEA and money laundering or the officials should finally look to end this nonsense called UIGEA.