AGA Objects to Poker Stars Casino Acquisition in NJ

The American Gaming Association has broken away from its traditionally neutral stand on the internal licensing processes of individual states by filing an official objection to the entry of Poker Stars into the New Jersey gambling market.  The AGA said that the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and the Casino Control Commission should not grant Rational Group, operators of Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker, permission to purchase the Boardwalk located Atlantic Club hotel since Poker Star’s entry into the market “gravely compromised” the industry.

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“For many years, the PokerStars individuals and entities operated a business with a history of intentional, uninterrupted criminal violations,” the AGA claims in its brief, which was filed on Monday. “They cannot demonstrate the good character, integrity and honesty required by New Jersey law.”

The brief further claims that “from 2006 to 2011, PokerStars masterminded the payments involved in that unlicensed betting by systematically defrauding every bank and other financial institution that touched those transactions.”

Poker Stars was one of several online poker rooms which was shut down by the Department of Justice in April 2011. The group went on to sign a three way agreement with the DOJ and Full Tilt Poker, where Poker Stars acquired Full Tilt’s interests and paid back the frozen funds held in Full Tilt accounts, valued at millions of dollars, to non-US players.  Former Full Tilt players in the US are still waiting to see their funds returned to them.

For its part, the Rational Group seems unflustered by the move made by the AGA this week.  In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for the group said: “These are matters for expert regulators to determine, not self-interested partisans picking a public fight.”

“We will continue to work positively with regulators in New Jersey and elsewhere whenever they review our qualifications,” he said, adding that Poker Stars has been cleared by the Justice Department to apply for a New Jersey gambling license.

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