PokerStars Demands NJ Authorities Ignore AGA Objections

A 15 page letter sent by PokerStars’ parent company, the Rational Group to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, demands that the gambling authority ignore an official objection made by the American Gaming Association against the purchase of the Atlantic Club casino by Poker Stars.

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Last week, the AGA made public its objection that Poker Stars is entering the newly regulated New Jersey online gambling market, and asked that the New Jersey authorities reject Rational’s licensing application.   The letter sent by the Rational Group asks that the authorities reject “AGA’s thinly-veiled anti-competitive campaign against the entry of a competitor into the market.”

Important points made in the letter include: “The AGA lacks a ‘significant interest in the outcome’ of these proceedings”;  “the AGA’s participation is not ‘likely to add constructively to their case’” and ”to permit the AGA to participate in this matter would be destructively anticompetitive, and would do a disservice to the people of New Jersey.”

Rational says in its letter that it believes that the New Jersey gambling authorities are quite capable, as a leading industry gambling jurisdiction, to make its own decision about Poker Stars’ participation in the new market “without the unsolicited assistance of a self-appointed group of Rational’s competitors.”

Rational dismissed outright the AGA’s request to participate in the licensing process and to have a say in who is eligible and who is not. “There is no precedent recognizing the right of a trade association comprised of competing casinos to participate in a license application,” read the letter.

Poker Stars said previously that its deal with the Department of Justice, where it agreed to acquire Full Tilt Poker, specifically notes that the online poker room is allowed to make a license application to any jurisdiction in the United States, although naturally the final decision will be up to the authorities themselves.

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