PokerStars New Jersey Delay Christie’s Fault, Says Lesniak

November 3rd, 2014 | by Jason Reynolds
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie PokerStars

New Jersey Governor Christie needs to OK PokerStars’ entrance to the market, says Ray Lesniak. But could his presidential ambitions be at odds with making that happen? (Image:

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 with 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.”

Waiting for Godot

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.  “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.”

GOP Hopeful

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.

One Comment

  1. C Hiesenberg says:

    Who runs the insane asylum in New Jersey for Gaming. DGE needs to approve everything because they need to keep their jobs for which in my opinion they have NOT DONE WELL – how did that online launch go for you ?

    Lesniak can’t spell technology and that roll-out with all issues they don’t even know about (yet) and is a complete joke and laughing stock to us game companies that actually generate revenue with systems that actually deliver a great game experience to customers that enjoy playing games ! I friggin laugh at the fact that not one vendor in their list is from NJ – the telco business for which technology leaders exist from Verizon to Ericsson are not present – and certainly we don’t want to be part of those that want to tell us what we already know what to do in our own markets without the illogical requirements that don’t work from a technical perspective – if NJ had an online market it might matter.

    Lesniak is a politician using things he doesn’t know to run for office – Poker Stars was run by CRIMINALS – and there is still a legacy there – and frankly if there is one company that will screw it up for the legit companies trying to do the right things – it would be PokerStars and Amaya – low brow technologist and when you see 4.9B as a price of a company – something smells bad out of the box.

    As far as an AC revival goes – that’s a bigger issue than PokerStars – the online launch was and remains a total laugh, why would the europeans want another tax layer when their online systems actually work, when in the US there isn’t a large enough audience in the jurisdictions they are allowed – NV, DE and NV. The number of customers, tech failure and the attitude of attorney’s trying to manage technology led by a guy from Malta – proves you got what you PAID FOR with the resources that don’t know what they didn’t know and wouldn’t listen too – How is it you couldn’t find anyone in NJ, NY or PA that might have a grip on technology issues – much less understanding the need for a ‘game plan’ to get customers to sign up ?

    STOP THE MADNESS – and quit the politics – if you want to stimulate gaming – you need to clean your reputation and certainly the NJ gaming reputation up – the ‘real’ companies won’t allow themselves to get caught up in the ‘games around regulation and suitability’ – what a joke, the biggest online poker scam company of ALL TIME – and you want them back in play ? When you want the CEO’s of multi-billion dollar companies like HP, IBM, APPLE, GOOGLE et al to ‘be approved’ instead of working with them to get them involved you asked for money – to us it was ‘extortion’ to build an industry that has YET TO GENERATE ANY PROFITABLE REVENUE FOR ANYBODY ?

    Our association with an industry run by folks nobody trusts, that is full of pitfalls from a brand exposure perspective and politicians like yourself who don’t want to know what you don’t know and to bring forward a succesful and trusted industry is pitiful.

    Your online business is lining up just like AC – an island of poor facilities and services with and operators that are morally, technologically and finacially BANKRUPT.

    PS – how much did POKER STARS or their bag man contribute or promise to contribute to your political ego and future ?

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