New Jersey gaming officials dealt PokerStars’ bid to enter the NJ gaming market a serious blow this week.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the Division of Gaming Enforcement told company officials that it would be a minimum of two years before they could hope to do business in the Garden State.

Regulators simply couldn’t look past the company’s troubled past and were particularly concerned about PokerStars’ decision to accept American players between 2006-2011. They’re also concerned about a Federal indictment against PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg that remains unresolved.

This week’s news is a hard blow for The Rational Group, PokerStars’ parent company, especially in light of the hundreds of millions of dollars they’ve spent trying to break int the US market.

Last year the poker giant threw $730 million (USD) at a Department of Justice settlement designed to smooth the way towards American shores.

Rational also threw millions of dollars at a failed bid to take over the struggling Atlantic Club Casino in Atlantic City. That effort was thwarted by an extremely aggressive, and extremely effective, effort by the American Gaming Association to keep them out of Jersey entirely.

With New Jersey taking a pass, PokerStars’ chances of operating in other states are practically nil. At this point, Rational’s best hope of invading American are to either cut ties with Scheinberg and/or sell off PokerStars entirely.


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