PokerStars announced its bid to purchase the Atlantic Club casino in New Jersey, and the bidding process progressed after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie legalized online gambling in the state. The bid was challenged by the American Gaming Association (AGA), which represents US based gambling operators. The AGA says it is acting in the best interests of American gaming firms, but US poker players overwhelmingly support PokerStars.
PokerStars was banned from the US market following the 2011 Black Friday poker scandal, but spent the last two years strategizing how to re-access what it sees as the largest untapped online poker and online casino market in the world. New Jersey’s new online gambling law allows companies that own Atlantic City casinos to operate online domains provided the servers are housed within the casinos.
If PokerStars succeeds in acquiring the Atlantic Club, the company will have all the legal requirements necessary to relaunch its virtual poker rooms in New Jersey. Other states are debating whether to adapt their own legislation and allow interstate online betting, which would give PokerStars the legal authority to expand across the country once again.
The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is a pro-poker organization representing thousands of players across the US. The PPA conducted a survey among its New Jersey chapter to determine if players side with the AGA or with PokerStars. The survey asked nearly 1,000 players to evaluate PokerStars on a scale of 1 to 5, and if they feel the company is within its rights to bid for the Atlantic City casino.
The responses damage the arguments made by the AGA. Nearly 85 percent of respondents rank PokerStars with a 4 or 5, and approximately 95 percent agree that the company should be allowed to bid for the Atlantic Club casino. These same respondents admit they would travel to the PokerStars owned casino, and eagerly await the opportunity to bet online at PokerStars poker rooms.
The AGA believes the sale to PokerStars takes opportunity away from American gambling firms, and that PokerStars illicit history with US gambling laws should remove the company from the bidding process. However, poker players prefer the world’s largest online poker room, and the PPA hopes New Jersey regulators overseeing the bidding process take their survey into consideration.