PokerStars has officially returned to the United States online gaming market.
Owner Amaya today confirmed the operator's launch of real-money online poker and casino in New Jersey, having previously received approval from the state's gaming regulator.
PokerStars has partnered with Atlantic City venue Resorts Casino Hotel, as per New Jersey rules governing online market entry.
PokerStars New Jersey will be available at PokerStarsNJ.com on desktop, mobile and tablet.
Players will be offered special New Jersey online promotions, bonuses and live events, including the chance to interact with and play against Team PokerStars Pro members.
Players who set up an account on PokerStarsNJ.com will be able to take advantage of a first deposit bonus, while those signing up within the first seven days will receive a ticket into a $25,000 freeroll.
PokerStars New Jersey will also offer Special Sunday tournaments, as well as a selection of casino games.
Customers who previously held a PokerStars real-money or play-money account are eligible for a welcome offer based on their play history.
Players can create a new account using the log-in details from their previously held account, and are eligible to receive their last held VIP status, Play Money Chips and StarsCoin, formerly known as frequent player points, until 31 May 2016.
StarsCoin can be used to purchase online tournament tickets, merchandise and cash rewards from the PokerStars New Jersey VIP Store.
“We could not be more proud to bring PokerStars to New Jersey,” said David Baazov, Chairman and CEO of Amaya.
Following the announcement of the impending launch earlier this month, Lorien Pilling, Director at consultancy GBGC, said that he expected Stars to "quickly vie for market leadership".
Some commentators are doubtful that PokerStars can actually grow the New Jersey online poker market, which currently generates gaming win of around $2m a month.
A recent Digital & Interactive Gaming report from boutique research firm Eilers & Krejcik states that PokerStars' New Jersey entry "could provide a short-term boost, but we remain sceptical that the market can reliably produce anything more than $3m a month long term".
"Realistically, a year after PokerStars’ launch, the market is likely to be back around $2m a month."
Victor Rocha of Pechanga.net added: "iPoker has been withering on the vine for quite some time now."
"We’ll see if PokerStars can bring the rain – it’s an endeavour worthy of Sisyphus."
PokerStars’ US operations were shut down by the US government in April 2011 and its founder Isai Scheinberg faced a federal indictment for allegedly violating the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and the Illegal Gambling Business Act.
In December 2013 PokerStars was locked out of the New Jersey online gaming market after then owner Rational Group had its licence application suspended for two years, primarily due to the unresolved indictment against Scheinberg.
The “involvement of certain PokerStars executives” with post-UIGEA US online gaming was also revealed to be a factor.
The DGE did however state that the application could be reactivated within the two years if “significantly changed circumstances” were demonstrated.
Current owners Amaya acquired PokerStars in August 2014 for $4.9bn.
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