In December it was revealed that PokerStars was in talks to purchase the Atlantic Club in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Documentation now confirms that PokerStars has applied for an Interim Casino Authorization (license) to own the casino. The application was filed on December 24, 2012, and is currently under review. There is no firm date as to when the investigation by New Jersey’s legal gaming division will be completed nor when a recommendation might be made to the Casino Control Commission to either confirm or deny the petition, but sources say that such an interim casino license typically takes a few months.
Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications for PokerStars, offered the following statement:
The Rational Group, which operates PokerStars and other global gaming brands, has agreed to acquire The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ from Resorts International Holdings pending the grant of an Interim Casino Authorization by the relevant New Jersey authorities. The acquisition of The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel will secure up to 2,000 jobs and maintain the economic benefits the casino brings to New Jersey. During this interim period, the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel will operate as normal under current management, who will be retained following completion of the acquisition.
This would be PokerStars first brick and mortar venture in the U.S. There currently is no poker room in the Atlantic Club, but the addition of one in the future could help the ailing casino, one of Atlantic City’s smallest. PokerStars has already confirmed to Diamond Flush Poker that they plan to open a modern live poker room in the casino once the acquisition is complete.
In December, the New Jersey Assembly and then the Senate approved a bill that would allow internet gaming in the State. The bill requires that gaming take place via servers physically located in a licensed New Jersey casino, such as the Atlantic Club. The bill is now on the desk of Governor Chris Christie and Christie has until early February to either sign or veto. According to the bill, once approved, play would be permitted by anyone (within legal limits) physically within New Jersey boundaries at time of play.
PokerStars settled their civil case with the Southern District of New York in July 2012 where the company admitted no wrongdoing. That same settlement allows PokerStars to apply for licensing in the U.S., if and when it becomes possible under relevant law. The bill currently awaiting the Governor’s signature allows for that. Additionally, there is a clause in the bill 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.
Diamond Flush Poker will continue with updates on the acquisition and licensing as they become available.