PokerStars May Purchase Atlantic City Hotel Casino

December 13, 2012

The online gambling legalization debate that has been going on just got more intriguing after gaming giant PokerStars made known their intention to purchase the struggling The Atlantic Club.

PokerStars, according to the Wall Street Journal, is in negotiations with Colony Capital, a private equity group, for the purchase of this Atlantic City hotel casino at a price below $50 million. This Boardwalk property originally went by the name Golden Nugget when Steve Wynn founded it in the 1980s, before being called the Atlantic City Hilton.  PokerStars’ interest in it comes as no surprise, and the price being considered is a real steal.

The concern that supersedes even this purchase is whether the player from Isle of Man will garner licensing approval from the gaming regulators of the mega-restrictive New Jersey gambling industry. PokerStars already has a record of a nine-count court indictment, for which an agreement to pay the federal government $731 was reached in August. If they can pull this off, the other question relates to whether they will go for a similar strategy in Nevada.

Evidence of the ground work in New Jersey already being underway is the increased presence of PokerStars attorneys in the state. According to the Wall Street Journal, the success of the deal is dependent on the passing of a bill to legalize online gambling, which is currently being debated in the legislature. Once approved, Atlantic City casinos will be allowed to operate websites that gamblers would have access to while within the New Jersey borders.

On April 15th 2011, the U.S federal government ran a crackdown on Internet poker and PokerStars ended up ensnared in a legal tussle. The company and its founder, Isai Scheinberg, were accused of operating an illegal gaming business, bank fraud, and money laundering, in a nine-count indictment.

PokerStars finally got from the wrong side of the U.S. Department of Justice on August 1st 2012 when they agreed to the $731 million settlement. However, they denied all allegations leveled against them by the prosecution and have been restricted from operating in the U.S. gambling market. Isai Scheinberg is still under indictment for various charges, but he is yet to be charged officially.


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