Earlier this week, a bid submitted by PokerStars to purchase the Atlantic Club casino was pulled off the table, according to spokespeople at the casino. Despite the setback, the online poker room remains committed to its plans to purchase a casino, and enter the newly legalized New Jersey online gambling market.
According to state gaming regulators, the purchase bid fell apart due to online casino licensing. PokerStars was given an April 26 deadline to secure a temporary gambling license with the state gambling authorities, but legal challenges from US based gambling competitors, which are represented by the American Gaming Association (AGA), delayed the approval process. As a result, the deadline passed, and the Atlantic Club confirmed the deal was dead.
The Rational Group, based in the Isle of Man and owners of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and other online poker sites, believes the deal could still be salvaged. Eric Hollreiser, a spokesperson for the Rational Group, stated the company remains committed to reentering the US market.
“It was the Rational Group’s expectation and understanding, based on the ongoing dealings between the parties, that the closing date would be extended to allow the transaction to be completed. The Rational Group remains entirely committed to resolving this situation and to our investment in New Jersey.”
The Atlantic Club is one of 12 casinos along the New Jersey boardwalk, but has struggled to compete with other gaming centres for years. At the end of 2012, the owners posted a $43 million net loss for the year, and put their majority ownership stake on the market for sale.
The regulators made no mention of PokerStars’ role in the Black Friday scandal as reasons to reject the casino purchase bid, though the AGA is using the clouded history to support its case.