PokerStars New Jersey is finally live and poker players in the state couldn’t be happier according to the latest reactions on Twitter.
Following more than 12 months of speculation, tribulations and legal wrangling, PokerStars finally announced the launch of its return to the US on Monday with a simple tweet that read: “We are LIVE in New Jersey!”
With the site finally up and running and players from across the Garden State ready to ante-up as soon as possible, the next few days are likely to be extremely busy; however, as for the launch itself, it was much more of a sedated affair.
Detailed by PokerStars’ Lee Jones on the operator’s official blog, the “big launch” involved just five people (Jones included) in a relatively unassuming room inside Atlantic City’s Resorts Hotel and Casino.
Following the March 16 soft launch that allowed 500 people to test the new software, the five employees quietly turned on the site at 12:01 am on March 21 and with that PokerStars New Jersey was live.
After more than five years without PokerStars operating in the US, many of the game’s top pros have decided to relocate to New Jersey just so they can play online again.
Jason Mercier was quick to signal his intent and tweeted on Sunday that he is finally “leaving Vegas” ready for today’s launch.
Also joining the flock of players migrating to New Jersey was Jason Somerville. The PokerStars pro who hosts a popular live stream called Run It Up told his Facebook fans to get ready for his first stream from New Jersey.
“The wait is nearly over! daily streams on PokerStars from New Jersey begin tomorrow at 12pm PT/3pm ET/7pm GMT/8pm CET on runitup.tv! #letsjuststream,” wrote Somerville.
When the inevitable chorus of excitement eventually dies down, the big question many in the industry will be asking is how well can PokerStars New Jersey perform?
Since the state regulated online gaming back in 2013 the poker economy has struggled.
The latest financial round-up from the New Jersey Division of Gaming of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) proved to be positive reading for the state’s online casino sites with revenue up 2.2 percent compared to January and 52.6 percent up year-on-year.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for poker. Total revenue of $1.99 million represented a 7.3 percent drop in January’s takings and a 2.5 percent decline. Entering a struggling marketplace certainly isn’t what PokerStars would have wanted, but there’s every chance it can help reverse this trend.
While it may take some time for PokerStars to become the largest operator in the state and put poker revenue on a positive trajectory, it’s certainly possible as the brand still has a lot of credibility in the US.
For now, however, players in the state are simply happy that they can now play at PokerStars once again.