PokerStars spokesman Eric Hollreiser said in an email the company welcomes Caesars’ change of heart.
“In California, we’re part of a growing coalition working together to promote the industry, protect individual freedom and counter the misleading, negative campaign of self-interested, anti-competitive groups,” Hollreiser said.
GamblingCompliance North American Research Director Chris Krafcik, who first reported the policy change, said Caesars’ shift could fuel Internet gaming debate in new markets such as New York and Pennsylvania.
Hollreiser said PokerStars will “work closely with Caesars” to seek online gaming regulation at the state and federal levels.
The biggest question mark is New Jersey, where PokerStars has a partnership with Resorts Atlantic City to operate the casino’s online gaming. PokerStars will also build a $10 million poker room at the Boardwalk property. The company has been unable to obtain a gaming license in New Jersey, despite clearing several hurdles.
Last week, BusinessInsider.com reported Gov. Chris Christie is holding up the licensing as a favor to Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson, the industry’s most fervent opponent of legalizing online gaming.
The New York Times reported this month that Adelson loaned Christie one of his private jets. The governor is expected to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016 and has been courting support from the billionaire, who contributes heavily to GOP candidates and causes.
Hollreiser declined comment on a Christie-Adelson connection.
“We’re continuing to work with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement toward gaining approval to offer online gaming under the PokerStars and Full Tilt brands,” he said.