Amaya wants PokerStars back in New Jersey, and has since the moment they purchased the Rational Group earlier this summer. There were even signs from state regulators that they were open to having the world’s largest and most recognizable poker brand back in New Jersey, which would make it the first state to let PokerStars back in the United States. Now, recent moves by PokerStars suggest that their return could be coming very soon.
According to reports, including some from posters on the Two Plus Two forums, some individuals with former accounts on PokerStars who played in New Jersey before Black Friday received invitations to meet with PokerStars personnel this week. The meetings were described as “open house” sessions in which invited guests could visit at any time and speak to the PokerStars management team.
“As a valued former PokerStars VIP in New Jersey, we would like to invite you to meet two members of PokerStars management who will be in the area next week,” the email invitation read. “They will be hosting two discussions in a casual setting with the goal of meeting the New Jersey player base and inviting feedback on any topics or concerns you as a player may have.”
The two meetings were both scheduled for early this week. One took place from 5-7 pm on Monday at the Vu Lounge at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City. The second meeting was scheduled for 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm on Wednesday at the Landshark Bar & Grill. That second location might be significant, as the bar is at the Resorts Hotel & Casino, which PokerStars has an existing partnership with in New Jersey.
The invitations apparently weren’t sent to all players, and the level of play may not have been a major factor, as at least one player reported not receiving an invitation despite being a Supernova-level VIP who played from New Jersey up until Black Friday. So far, there have been no reports about what was discussed at the first meeting.
Meanwhile, there are other signs that Amaya and PokerStars are gearing up or an imminent return. Rational Intellectual Holdings Limited has begun filing applications for various trademarks in the United States, a sign that the poker room expects (or at least hopes) to use those trademarks in the country.
A total of six trademark applications for terms and logos were filed by Rational in August, according to a report by Michael Gentile at PokerFuse. They included names such as PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (and PCA), Zoom Poker, and We Are Poker. That final one has reportedly been a slogan that has been in wide use by PokerStars internationally since late 2011. Similarly, Zoom Poker is a fast-fold variant that didn’t exist at the time of Black Friday, and so has never been used in the United States before now.
While these signs certainly point to an expected return by PokerStars in New Jersey, it’s not yet certain if or when Amaya will get the regulatory approval to launch a branded site in the state. It’s also uncertain as to what casino a PokerStars site would be partnered with: while PokerStars itself has the existing relationship with Resorts, Amaya has contractual relationships with several other Atlantic City casinos.