Directorate of Gaming Enforcement's investigation was comprehensive and thorough, 89-page report shows
The New Jersey Directorate of Gaming Enforcement has released its 89-page report detailing a conscientious and exhaustive investigation into Pokerstars and its parent group Amaya and their suitability for licensing.
The regulator recently issued a transactional waiver to the company, allowing it to enter the New Jersey market in partnership with Resorts Casino Hotel (see previous InfoPowa reports).
Highlights of the report include:
* Detailed reviews of 45,000 business documents for the period 2008 to the present relating to Amaya and Pokerstars were conducted, assisted by the group's independent auditors;
* Investigators travelled 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 DGE enquiries extended to the enquiries of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) in Quebec, which investigated activity around trading of Amaya's stock after the company acquired Pokerstars (see previous InfoPowa report). The regulator notes that the AMF enquiry has not resulted in any proceedings or charges, and that Amaya has consistently assured that it has done nothing wrong. The DGE continues to monitor the AMF enquiry;
* Investigators interviewed and took sworn statements from 63 former Pokerstars, Full Tilt, and Pyr (now Amaya's software arm) employees still with the group;
* Investigators reported that Pokerstars generated $44.3 million in revenue in New Jersey from October 2006 until Black Friday in April 2011. The company subsequently returned $5 million to New Jersey players after the Black Friday shutdowns, with just short of half-a-million dollars still unclaimed;
* Amaya has withdrawn from 34 markets where Pokerstars activity was not expressly authorised;
* Full Tilt's New Jersey player base consisted of 75,000 accounts – it is not clear how many accounts Pokerstars had;
* The report cites Amaya's decision to withdraw "from 34 "grey markets" in which the Pokerstars entities previously operated Internet gaming, where it was not expressly authorized" as a reason in support of granting a license.
* Four unnamed Rational-Oldford Group executives who remained with Amaya after its acquisition have to be released from employment by January 30 2016 "…having failed to establish the requisite good character, honesty and integrity required by the Act due to their involvement in the business activities of the Pokerstars Entities between the enactment of UIGEA and Black Friday."
The DGE findings note that Amaya has "permanently and irrevocably severed" all previous ownership interests in the Oldford-Rational Groups, and has met the "significantly changed circumstances" benchmark required in the two year suspension imposed by the DGE when Pokerstars first applied for a New Jersey licence in 2013.
The findings go on to assert:
"The Division concludes that Amaya has demonstrated its suitability for a Transactional Waiver Order. 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.
"Based upon the lack of material derogatory information revealed during the Division's investigation and the strength of the integrated compliance plan, the Division concludes that Amaya and Amaya Holdings (IOM) have established the requisite good character, honesty, and integrity required for qualification as a qualifier of a CSIE."
Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa