The Wall Street Journal published an interesting article over the weekend, reporting that Poker Stars online poker giant is currently involved in negotiations to purchase the struggling Atlantic Club Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City for a price that is under $50 million. Besides the fact that this is a ridiculously low price to pay for a hotel and casino, despite the poor economic conditions in the city, the question now raised is whether this is being done to get Poker Stars in the door of legal online intrastate poker in New Jersey.
When Poker Stars entered into its iconic $731 million deal with the Department of Justice to purchase Full Tilt Poker, analysts said that one of terms of the deal would be that Poker Stars would see its slate wiped clean in that US authorities would not prosecute the company in the future for offering online gambling services to US players. With this type of promise under its belt, would Poker Stars therefore qualify for a license to operate in the strict New Jersey industry when online poker is eventually introduced? Legislation is now in the pipeline to allow Atlantic City casinos to offer online poker and gambling from their premises to local players. Is this the reason behind Poker Stars’ purchase of the Atlantic Club Hotel and Casino?
A spokesperson for the New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement said that all license applicants, including Poker Stars, would undergo “rigorous investigation” before they would be granted permission to offer any potential online poker services. Has Poker Stars been redeemed to such an extent that the New Jersey authorities would turn a blind eye to the hot water that the site found itself in from April last year?
This is an interesting story to follow. Watch this space.