Baaaaad Actors: Clause in NJ Online Gambling Bill Could Mean Return of PokerStars to US

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Ace King
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‘Bad Actors’ Clause in NJ Online Gambling Bill Could Mean Return of PokerStars t

Online gambling companies that have targeted US citizens up to now could be allowed back in the US if a bill to legalize Web gambling in the state of New Jersey is passed and signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.  That means PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, both of which left the US market in April 2011 following a massive crackdown by federal authorities. 

The Governor is widely expected to sign the bill when it arrives at his desk some time later this month or early January. 


The latest changes to A2578 include removing “bad actor” language that applied an arbitrary, post-UIGEA cutoff date of December 31, 2006 to existing online sites that were deemed to have “made available bets or wagers to persons located in the United States,” regardless of whether said bets or wagers may have been legal.

Such statutory language has already been the subject of preliminary battles at both the state and federal level for its possible presumptive denial of due process.

Instead, the latest version of A2578 shifts responsibility for these sites’ legal eligibility to a combination of state and federal determination of their adherence to existing gambling laws.

It’s certainly not a given that PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker will be allowed to obtain a license in New Jersey as that state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement would still opt to consult with the US Justice Department regarding each offshore gambling company’s status.  PokerStars recently settled a civil complaint with the US Government while also acquiring Full Tilt Poker.  Executives from both companies have criminal charges pending. 

- Ace King,