PokerStars Negotiating to Acquire New Jersey Casino

DiamondFlushPoker.com can confirm that PokerStars is currently negotiating to purchase a New Jersey brick and mortar casino.

The Atlantic Club Casino, on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey has struggled since it’s current owners tried to rebrand it over the last few years. It was one of the first casinos in Atlantic City, built in 1980 by Steve Wynn and partners and changed hands several times after Wynn left Atlantic City. Originally called the Golden Nugget, it was later known as Bally’s Grand, The Grand, The Atlantic City Hilton and more recently the ACH.  Finding no suitable buyers in the last year, the casino was rebranded The Atlantic Club earlier this year and began undergoing renovations bringing the gaming floor up to date and catering to locals in the area as the “smaller, friendlier casino”.

PokerStars, having recently settled it’s civil case with the U.S Attorney’s Office, will be free to apply, per the settlement agreement, for real money online poker licensing in the U.S. once it is permissible under relevant law.   

New Jersey is one state that is on the fast track to see that relevant law is passed for online gaming on an intrastate level. An online poker bill was introduced in New Jersey last year, passed by congress, but was vetoed by the Governor shortly before Black Friday.  Now, with the bill fine tuned and resurrected, both the House and the Senate in N.J. are said to be working together to get it finalized.  Earlier this week Senator Ray Lesniak predicted a vote by both houses to take place before Christmas. Sources have told DiamondFlushPoker.com that there is high confidence of the bill passing in both houses and Governor Christie giving his approval when it comes for his signature.

As is now public, the amended bill in the Assembly, also adopted just this week, provides for several changes that could make the bill even more attractive to the N.J. online poker community. One form of the original bill called for a “tainted assets” provision that would have potentially excluded companies that operated in the U.S. post UIGEA from being licensed. The new bill deleted that provision, instead including one that requires the Division of Gaming Enforcement in New Jersey to consult with the U. S. Department of Justice regarding licensing companies that are headquartered out of the United States prior to making their recommendation to the Casino Control Commission on granting of the license. Also, a previous version of the bill called for a waiting period for at least one year before such companies could be actively licensed, whereas now the stipulation is a minimum of only three months (but could be extended).

If PokerStars is successful in concluding a deal for a land based casino in New Jersey, residents of New Jersey could soon see a PokerStars branded poker room come to the town.  UPDATE: Reliable sources have confirmed that if the acquisition is successful, that PokerStars do plan to open a modern poker room for live play on site.

In addition, with servers for any online gaming required to be on premises in a land based casino in Atlantic City, PokerStars would be well situated to move forward with applying for an online poker license, which would be granted by permit to any licensed casino in Atlantic City. According to  the the bill pending now, once approved, play would be permitted by anyone (within legal limits) physically within New Jersey boundaries at time of play, both residents and non-residents alike.

Diamond Flush Poker will continue to bring you updates on the acquisition as it becomes available.

In full disclosure, the author is a resident of New Jersey.

Edit: 12/7/2012  Added update confirming live poker room plans.

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3 Responses to PokerStars Negotiating to Acquire New Jersey Casino

  1. Jon says:

    There are extremely smart people running stars that s for sure

  2. Pierre LeVin says:

    Isn’t the owner of pokerstars still a fugitive from the US? I know he had to step down as CEO but doesn’t he still own ~90% of pokerstars? How can NJ approve him as an owner of a casino given he is a fugitive from justice?

    • Diamond Flush says:

      I think the definition of fugitive is a little murky to the layperson, but if you mean Isai Scheinberg, he did not flee the jurisdiction and afaik, his whereabouts are known, so I don’t know the answer. He also was not CEO, but was required to step down in any managerial or directors role as part of the settlement (this can be revisited at a later time). I do not know where you got your information that he owns 90% of PS, no such information has ever been proffered that I know of.

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