PokerStars still optimistic of New Jersey deal

Posted by Steve Ruddock on May 03, 2013 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

why-new-jersey-2It was a bad week for PokerStars in the US, as the gaming giant saw its deal to purchase the Atlantic Club in New Jersey fall apart, and rival 888 win the sweepstakes to be the online gaming provider in Delaware. But this doesn’t mean PokerStars is giving up on the US: In a five-part Tweet on Thursday night, PokerStars Head of Corporate Communications, Eric Hollreiser made it very clear that PokerStars was not giving up on their attempt to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey despite reports that the deal had expired:

Eric Hollreiser@erichollreiser

In December 2012, The Rational Group (d/b/a PokerStars) entered into a purchase agreement for the acquisition of the Atlantic Club. (1/5)

Several days ago we received a purported notice of termination of this agreement from the current owners of the Atlantic Club (2/5)

It was the Rational Group’s expectation and understanding, based on the ongoing dealings between the parties that the closing date …(3/5)

would be extended to allow the transaction to be completed. (4/5)

The Rational Group remains entirely committed to resolving this situation and to our investment in New Jersey. (5/5)

PokerStars’ (or rather the Rational Group’s) attempt to purchase the Atlantic Club would have been the company’s first purchase of a US-based casino interest, but not its first worldwide, as PokerStars has some ownership stake in London’s Hippodrome Casino as well as the City of Dreams Poker Room in Macau. The purchase of the Atlantic Club would do more than simply boost the company’s asset balance sheet though, as it would pave the way for PokerStars applying for a New Jersey online poker license; which is where the problems started to arise and the pushback began.

First it was the AGA who opposed PokerStars being allowed to gain a foothold in the US gaming market, calling the company “business built on deceit, chicanery, and the systematic flouting of U.S. law,” and citing the numerous charges leveled at PokerStars on Black Friday, ranging from fraud to money laundering – PokerStars has since settled with the DOJ, admitting to no wrongdoing and receiving the green light from the DOJ to apply for US licenses where allowed.

More recently it was reported that PokerStars came under fire at the recently concluded Global iGaming Summit & Expo (GiGse) where several speakers railed against PokerStars, claiming that strict licensing requirements were necessary and PokerStars track-record should preclude them from receiving a US gaming license.

Other states that have passed online poker legislation, or are pondering it, have preemptively excluded PokerStars by adding “Bad Actor” clauses to their legislation, disallowing companies that offered online poker in the US after the passage of UIGEA in 2006. Nevada added the “Bad Actor” language earlier this year, and proposed bills in Massachusetts also included “Bad Actor” clauses.

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