The Full Tilt iOS iPhone app sent numerous poker players in New Jersey into near-hysteria this week, after receiving a message announcing real-money gameplay was now being offered in their home state.
“We are pleased to announce that we have a new version of our game software fully licensed by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement,” the message stated.
Social media immediately became enthralled with users, sharing the good news, but when they followed the prompt to download new software, players discovered the instructions weren’t as advertised.
Full Tilt and PokerStars communications exec Eric Hollreiser said via tweet, “We are looking into the errant message re NJ license. It is an error and we are investigating.”
According to online accounts, the message only reached those Full Tilt users who play through the iOS application.
In a follow-up statement regarding the error, parent company Amaya placed blame on a bug (modern life’s equivalent of “the dog ate my homework”) and openly apologized to New Jersey, the state from which it’s so desperately seeking an online license.
“Full Tilt has identified and corrected the cause of an inadvertent message in its play money iOS app which incorrectly stated that Full Tilt was licensed and would soon be launching in New Jersey. We have been developing a real-money mobile poker app that has been submitted to the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement as part of the review process of our application to offer real money gaming under a NJ DGE license.”
The press release claims the bug was inadvertent and only reached a “very small number of people.”
The company also asserts that at no time was real-money poker being played on its software, nor did any users have the chance to register for real money games. The statement concluded:
“We apologize to the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement and to any players who were inconvenienced by this mistake.”
Full Tilt’s parent company, Amaya Gaming, has been laboring over a lengthy New Jersey online poker license ever since Internet gaming was signed into law back in 2013. The approval has been held up for unknown reasons as online cardrooms in the Garden State continue to struggle, maintain player pools, and create a positive economic impact.
The DGE is thought to still be considering Amaya’s application, but this faulty error on the Full Tilt app has some assuming both sites will arrive sooner rather than later.
A cynical person might even wonder if such a message was “accidentally” released prematurely as a publicity stunt, but we would never insinuate such a thing, of course.
Ray Lesniak, a New Jersey state senator championing the online poker effort, told residents to expect both PokerStars and Full Tilt to come on board before 2015. That estimate didn’t materialize, which sent Lesniak backtracking. He now affirms a March entry for the two online poker giants.
Whether or not the Full Tilt mishap indicates Amaya has approval behind-the-scenes and is preparing to launch its real-money gameplay shortly, remains to be seen. The error could also simply be the byproduct of testing and preparing should the DGE finally rule in favor of Amaya’s New Jersey online poker application.