PokerStars to Hold Summer Online Tournament in MI, NJ, and PA

The world’s largest online poker room is set to launch a summer tournament in America. Over the next two weeks, poker players from three states – Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania – will get a chance to take part in the PokerStars Summer Stacks Festival.

The tournament series starts on Saturday, June 12, and will wrap up 14 days later, on June 27. The prize pool is set at over $2.5 million, spread across more than 100 events. The main event is set to happen in the last two days of the tournament, in all three states simultaneously.

The buy-in for the main event is $100, while other tournaments come with lower price tags. There are even a couple of tournaments with free entry.

$2.5 Million in Prizes at PokerStars Summer Tournament

PokerStars Summer Stacks Festival will give away over $2.5 million in prizes to players from MI, NJ, and PA. Not every state will get an equal share of the prize pool, however.

Michigan and Pennsylvania will have a prize pool of $1 million each, while players from New Jersey will get to compete for their share of the $500,000 prize fund.

The main event is the one where the most money is to be made. The buy-in in each state is $100 for the tournament, but the prizes are not the same.

The players from Michigan will compete for $100,000 in prizes in the main event. The same goes for those in Pennsylvania, while the New Jersey main event will have a prize pool of $50,000.

The reason behind this probably lies in the fact that PokerStars is looking to promote its brand in Michigan, where it launched only in January.

When it comes to Pennsylvania, it’s where PokerStars is the only licensed online poker room. Pennsylvania seems to be the golden goose for this company, which generated $25.7 million in the last fiscal year.

Over in New Jersey, the online poker market is ruled by three companies. In addition to PokerStars, NJ players can also play poker at and BetMGM.

Online Poker Market Ready to Grow

The fact that the PokerStars Summer Stacks Festival will have $2.5 million in prizes suggests that there’s a lot of interest in online poker in America. The trouble is that people can play online poker only in a couple of US states.

In addition to the three states where the PokerStars summer tournament is taking place, there are three other online poker-friendly states – Nevada, Delaware, and West Virginia.

As per the current law, only three states in the US allow their players to play online poker against players from a different state. Players from NJ, NV, and DE can play poker online against each other.

The same isn’t the case with players based in MI, PA, and WV, who can only play against the players based in their own state.

The obstacle on the road of getting all the six states in a shared liquidity network is the 60 years’ old Wire Act. However, that might change real soon, as the Biden Administration might decide not to get on board with the Wire Act expansion.

Only one week is remaining for them to ask for a Supreme Court review. If they don’t do that, it will signal that the new administration isn’t too keen on the Wire Act.

As a result, the state governments of MI, PA, and WV could decide to join the other three in a shared poker liquidity network. From there, the sky is the limit for the online poker business in the US.

Grant Mahon

Grant is the self-professed casino madman and reporter that brought this eclectic team of dedicated and talented writers together from around the world to proudly build an humble empire of authentic casino news.

PokerStars Cleared from $870m Lawsuit in Kentucky

  • Kentucky’s $870m lawsuit against PokerStars drops in Court of Appeals
  • PokerStars is cleared of guilt
  • Kentucky may yet pursue the case in the state’s Supreme Court

The Star’s Group subsidiary PokerStars has won a court case in Kentucky, with the state’s Court of Appeals dropping a $870-million lawsuit against it. Originating a decade ago, PokerStars is not yet in the clear, with the state likely to press on in the Kentucky Supreme Court. Nevertheless, it’s an important signal that the card room has a fighting chance to avoid what it considers an unfair ruling.

PokerStars in the Past – Pre-UIEGA Times

Poker wasn’t always heavily regulated against back in the past. At the onset of the industry, not many people knew what to expect nor how to address the issue. With some lawmakers not being even remotely familiar with Internet and its workings, the industry had gone unnoticed for a long while.

PokerStars was spreading, adding states and customers easily and many players from the U.S. gladly placed money on the card room and competed across multiple events. PokerStars wasn’t the only operator at the time either, with Full Tilt Poker, among others, making a landscape full of vibrant competition.

Fighting Terror and Poker at the Same Time

Then the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 struck ensuring that money transfers towards poker and iGaming operators were made illegal. UIEGA wasn’t a stand-alone piece of legislation, passed along with the SAFE Port Act, in a desperate move to slam the industry. At the time, respected news outlet the Economist wrote that the provisions of the legislation were “hastily tacked onto the end of unrelated legislation.

It was Steve Bashear, the former governor, who made sure to gather all the support he could in a bid to crack down on over a hundred U.S.-facing domains, including PokerStars. What ensued was chaos, of course.

Mr. Bashear led the fight on a note that struck home with his supporters, pronouncing himself in a fight against an unregulated criminal world and citing the significance of the SAFE Port Act as a fight against terrorism on home turf.

The Long-Drawn Process

His rhetoric struck home and the legal troubles began. The case took a long while to launch, making it to a federal court in 2015, following years of bickering in the legal system. Kentucky claimed that PokerStars has inflicted damages on the state between 2006 and 2011, which the card room vehemently denied.

Kentucky’s main argument was that players have lost significant money playing at the cardroom, but then again – no such players were summoned as witnesses. It was finally on December 21, 2018 that the Court of Appeals struck down the case, offering the plaintiff a chance to proceed to the state’s Supreme Court if it wants to.

Like Father, Unlike Son

This is an interesting time to do so as Kentucky’s Attorney General, Andy Beshear, is the son of the same Steve Beshear who fought poker operators en masse. His son, though, is quite prepared to see the benefits of embracing the industry and inviting PokerStars as an official operator in the state.

Weighed down by the mounting pension fund debt, Kentucky has a lot to win from bringing a conscientious tax payer such as PokerStars on board. This is precisely what Beshear Jr. wants to achieve in what appears to be an interesting twist of events.
And yet, a battle in Kentucky’s Supreme Court could be looming.

Kat Orlov

Newcomer Kat is our newcomer poker aficionado whos skill not only lives on the table but flourishes on the site as through her many sources she never fails to be the first to hear of any important or exciting poker news around the world.