The parent company of PokerStars has publicly made an offer to buy the Atlantic Club casino on the New Jersey boardwalk that is currently before the New Jersey Gaming Enforcement regulatory body for approval of the purchase. State Senator Raymond Lesniak, the architect of the New Jersey online gambling bill currently awaiting the signature of Governor Chris Christie, believes there should be little difficulty for PokerStars to acquire the casino – as long as the state passes the online gambling law.
The purchase agreement is part of the PokerStars plan to relaunch operations in the US market ever since the fallout of the Black Friday poker scandal in 2011. Lesniak believes the legal complications that removed PokerStars from the market two years ago are issues that bare little concern for the New Jersey state legislature.
“This is a big, big boost to Atlantic City and its revival. I think it’s important for the success of Atlantic City to have investors like PokerStars.”
However, Lesniak believes the completion of the purchase requires Christie to officially endorse the online gambling legislation that would legally allow online poker sites to operate out of Atlantic City casinos. The senator says it PokerStars would only invest in a money losing casino if it has the potential to broaden its services to the online gambling market. The bill was passed by the New Jersey state legislature before the Christmas holidays, and Lesniak says the Governor has until February 4 to officially sign or veto the legislation.
Lesniak and other senators sent Christie a signed letter earlier this month, asking that he officially endorse the bill sooner than later. They believe that Atlantic City casinos, which are losing more money since the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, will be forced to close their doors without new ways to generate revenue – and further disrupt New Jersey’s economic performance.
“If the governor doesn’t sign my Internet gaming bill, there will be at least one casino and probably others that will have to close their doors and thousands of people will lose their jobs in Atlantic City.”
PokerStars remains the world’s largest online poker site, and would be a welcomed investment to an industry that is struggling to survive.