New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak has announced on Twitter that PokerStars’ entrance into the New Jersey market is now in the hands of the state’s Governor Chris Christie, which suggests that it may have already been approved by the Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Lesniak, a longtime proponent of online gambling in the Garden State and the architect of the new sports betting bill, hinted, however, that the governor was stalling on the issue.
The senator was responding to questions from followers about a series of tweets that he made over seven weeks ago. At that time, Lesniak tweeted excitedly that “@PokerStars launch will spark an AC revival. Stay tuned for a major announcement…”
When pressed for an explanation, he said that PokerStars’ presence in New Jersey was a matter of weeks, not months.
“It’s going to be soon and it’s going to be huge,” Lesniak said later in a phone interview withÂ PokerNews. “PokerStars is going to make a huge investment in Atlantic City, not just in Internet gaming but in their brand and in bringing attractions to Atlantic City.”
The state senator also hinted that the New Jersey player pool would be opened up to Europe.
“Most important is whether we open the player pool to Europe, etc. What timeframe do you have on that?” demanded a tweeter.
“Soon,” replied Lesniak. “Stay tuned for that also.”
Lesniak later qualified that remark when he was asked a question about other states’ ability to “opt in” and form compacts. “Soon to be countries,” he replied.
Since then, nothing. Last week, Lesniak was quizzed about the delay.
“@SenatorLesniak,” wrote one of his followers. Â “I thought it’s up to DGE. Just waiting on approval, poker is already legal here.”
“Won’t move without Christie ok,” he said. And then: “Let’s not hope waiting for Christie is like waiting for Godot.”
Lesniak’s words have prompted concerns that Christie’s designs on gunning for the Republican Presidential nomination for 2016 could become an impediment for PokerStars, as the governor is believed to be courting Sheldon Adelson for backing and possible campaign contributions. Much may hinge on Christie’s ambitions, about which he is remaining tight-lipped, although it should be noted that the governor has no legal power to reject PokerStars’ application if it has, indeed, been approved by the DGE.