“You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,” as the song goes.
Now Pala Poker is folding — for now. The company is halting its move into the New Jersey market while it waits to see what happens with PokerStars, whch is expected to move in and dominate the market.
Pala Poker’s previously planned launch has been delayed due to the imminent state approval of PokerStars.
According to Pala Interactive CEO Jim Ryan, the difficult player liquidity environment is the main reason for the setback.
“We put that on hold because we do expect PokerStars to enter the market, not that we would have grabbed a significant share because there are two very credible poker networks operating in the state of New Jersey at this point in time,” Ryan explained. “Liquidity is obviously a challenge.”
Pala partnered with Borgata in Atlantic City to roll out its online casino in New Jersey last November.
“The decision to abandon its poker platform in New Jersey is likely due to Pala recognizing that its brand is relatively unknown on the east coast,” noted Cards Chat News. “Competing against nationally renowned brands like Caesars’ World Series of Poker and 888poker, attracting players away from its shared pool would be a tall task for Pala. Add in PokerStars to the mix, and the challenge becomes nearly impossible.”
Though interstate pool sharing could open up the markets to smaller rooms, giving more online businesses a chance at survival and revenue, it’s not here yet. However, California could be key.
“California has seen numerous attempts to regulate online poker over the last couple of years, but interest seems to be at its highest in 2015, with many lawmakers believing its passage could aid in the state’s ongoing economic crisis,” noted Cards Chat News.
In the meantime, everything’s on hold for Pala Poker. The New Jersey approval for PokerStars is expected in March.