New Jersey casino regulators reviewed more than 45,000 PokerStars-related business documents and conducted interviews on multiple continents before approving the Internet poker brand to enter the state, according to a report released Friday by the Division of Gaming Enforcement.
PokerStars, along with two other leading Internet poker providers, was the subject of a 2011 indictment and a forfeiture case accusing the companies of orchestrating a massive money-laundering scheme so they could receive payments from Americans for illegal Internet gambling.
Last year, publicly traded Amaya Inc., a Canadian company, bought the PokerStars brand and asked the Division for permission to set up shop in New Jersey, which legalized Internet gambling in 2013.
Last week, regulators gave the company tentative approval to run a PokerStars operation in conjunction with Resorts Casino Hotel, setting the stage for the return to the United States of what is widely considered the most popular Internet gambling brand on the planet.
“While the PokerStars entities operated in violation of the law between 2006 and 2011, a number of considerations — including the severe criminal and civil sanctions imposed by the federal government, the complete and irrevocable separation of the previous owners and almost all of the former executives, the acquisition of the assets by Amaya and their incorporation into a robust compliance and control environment, as well as significant changes in the Internet gaming market since 2011 — lead to a finding of suitability,” the DGE's report states.
The agency sent investigators to Montreal, Toronto, Dublin, the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom to ensure that past owners, management and practices were “purged” from the PokerStars operation, the report states.