According to a report inside the Wall Street Journal, the offer made by PokerStars to buy the Atlantic Club casino is now off the table. State Senator Raymond Lesniak, one of the architects of New Jersey’s online gambling laws and a supporter of PokerStars’ reentry to the US market, believes the deal may “still be alive,” and advises poker fans to await the ruling from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Entertainment.
PokerStars offered to purchase the near bankrupt Atlantic Club casino near the end of 2012 as New Jersey lawmakers were still debating legalized online gambling. One of the conditions within the online laws is that operators must partner or own an Atlantic City casino, and house the internet servers within the land-based organizations. The Atlantic Club reported a $43 million operating loss at the end of 2012, and the owners reportedly had plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
PokerStars stepped in with an offer to buy the struggling casino in preparation of the state’s online gambling laws. The initial offer included a deadline of April 26 for PokerStars to secure a temporary license with New Jersey gaming regulators, but the date came and went without the license. According to inside sources, regulators may take until August to either approve or overrule the license for PokerStars.
However, Senator Lesniak believes the Atlantic Club has few options on the table, and will likely revisit the offer from PokerStars in a few months. The Division of Gaming Entertainment has the final say on online gambling licenses, and will rule whether PokerStars is a suitable recipient in time. Lesniak advises poker fans to sit tight for the time being.
“What I know is that the opponents of PokerStars are out there in full force trying to prevent them from operating in New Jersey.”