The race for New Jersey is really hotting up. Licences and authorisations are being handed out daily with The Big Decision - whether PokerStars gets a licence - expected any day now.

The departure of PartyGaming founders Ruth Parasol and Russ De Leon is a massive step for - although the company’s application is still under review. More on them later.

In the meantime, the most notable recent authorisation was handed to Optimal Payments. Its licensability, given the fact some clients were operating online sportsbooks pre-2006, was highlighted by the Massachusetts farrago surrounding Mitch Garber and Caesars.

The Massachusetts’ investigator took the view that Garber’s role as CEO of Optimal was questionable because the payments provider had signed a non-prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice (DoJ), where it admitted wrongdoing.

This seemed fair but one thing that seems to have got lost in the hullabaloo is that Optimal DID NOT admit wrongdoing in its agreement with the DoJ. It admitted that some of its merchants might have violated the Wire Act. That’s a big difference.

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