PokerStars begins test play in New Jersey

ATLANTIC CITY — The world’s largest Internet poker company is starting a trial period of operating in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement said PokerStars was permitted to begin real-money play with a pool of pre-selected guests Wednesday afternoon. If all goes well, state gambling regulators envision giving PokerStars the green light to begin full operations in New Jersey on Monday.

The trial period is designed to evaluate the company’s equipment and policies under real-world conditions and with the close scrutiny of gambling regulators. Other Internet gambling providers were required to undergo similar test periods before their full launches.

PokerStars selected 500 previous customers to participate in the “soft play” testing period. A real-money play trial period was slated for later Wednesday

The company is partnered with Resorts Casino Hotel, and is expected to boost to New Jersey’s Internet gambling market.

It will mark the much anticipated re-emergence of the Internet poker giant, which stopped doing business in the United States in 2011. For now, only PokerStars customers physically located within New Jersey’s borders will be able to use its platform to gamble online in the U.S.

The site, pokerstarsnj.com, will be New Jersey’s 18th Internet gambling site. It will offer not only poker, but online table games and slot machine games, as well.

PokerStars tried twice in 2013 to get licensed in New Jersey. But the state suspended the company for up to two years, citing legal problems involving some company executives, including an unresolved indictment against its founder. Executives involved in PokerStars’ acceptance of bets in the United States after the government made it illegal to take payments in connection with illegal gambling through the Internet stepped down as part of the sale to Amaya Inc.

The PokerStars website paid a $547 million fine to the Department of Justice but didn’t admit wrongdoing.

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