Michael Frawley, boss of the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel which was recently purchased by online poker room, Poker Stars, has put in a word of support for the legalization and regulation of online poker and casino games in New Jersey. Frawley urged State Governor Chris Christie to make the right decision by signing a pending bill into law that will allow Atlantic City casinos to offer state residents a range of good quality and protected poker and casino games online.
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Frawley’s opinion, echoed by many other pro-gambling bodies, is that allowing online poker will revitalize the floundering economy of the state, and especially its struggling gambling industry. Declining visitor numbers, the recession and Superstorm Sandy have badly affected revenues in the seaside resort of Atlantic City.
Poker Stars, through its parent company Rational Group, has asked the New Jersey gambling authorities for permission to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel and offer online poker services to local players who open an account at the casino. This will be the first time that an online gambling operator acquires an Atlantic City hotel should the authorities approve the deal.
Poker Stars will be investing millions into the hotel, with at least $30 million earmarked for investment purposes this year and $80 million altogether over the next five years.
Frawley said of the potential advantages of such a deal: “I see this as an amazing opportunity for New Jersey, a defining moment for The Atlantic Club, for the city and for New Jersey. We have a potential purchaser willing to build its U.S. corporate headquarters in the city, and willing to build a call center elsewhere in New Jersey. This is much more than just someone sitting in their living room with a computer.”
It is expected that Governor Christie will make his decision about whether to veto or sign in favor of the online poker bill this week.