PokerStars, one of the leading online poker sites in the world, made an offer to buy the Atlantic Club. This is a physical casino based in New Jersey’s renowned Atlantic City. This may take a while before such a transaction is finalized as PokerStars would need to acquire a license from the Division of Gaming Enforcement and the Casino Control Commission which regulates the $3 billion worth gambling industry.
In other words, there will be a lot of red tape and legal work for Pokerstars before they can claim the Atlantic Club as their own.
The Atlantic Club has reported a loss of $13.6 million in operating costs in only the first three quarters of 2012. The timely intervention of PokerStars could indeed be a lifesaver for the dying casino. They have accepted the offering price from the online casino but this amount was undisclosed. For PokerStars, it will serve as an advantage for them knowing that the proposed state law allowing online gambling casino will take effect next year.
According to industry analysts, it can be a difficult battle for PokerStars as the regulators will still see their previous coalition with the US authorities. Pokerstars was on the receiving end of legal troubles form the Federal Government due to shady banking practices being employed as a way to arrange for online gambling within the states. All of this happened almost two years ago when “Black Friday” took place, which involved the termination of some of the largest online poker sites on U.S. soild (Pokerstars included) and ended with a $731 million settlement with the Justice Department.
Pokerstars is, however, free to enter the US gambling market because of the settlement only after online gambling is legalized. However, now that Pokerstars will have a physical casino, they can operate in the city after licenses are released. Regular table games will still be available just like how the casino operated before. The possibility of adding poker tables may happen once they begin operations and create a game plan.
An “interim casino authorization,” has already been filed by the owner of Pokerstars, called the Rational Group. This is the first step they will need to take in order to acquire the license. Once online casino gaming will be regulated, this is one casino that will surely include that as well.
One can’t help but notice a certain degree of irony in that Pokerstars, originally an online poker site is purchasing a physical brick and mortar casino to potentially have online play once again available on the premises.