Online Poker Report

PokerStars Deal for New Jersey Casino “Dead” or Dead?

This article may be outdated. Get the latest news on New Jersey here.

UPDATE 5/2/13: PokerStars spokesperson Eric Hollreiser has released a formal statement via Twitter. This statement – combined with yesterday’s oddly short statement from the ACC – suggests there’s possibly more to this situation than meets the eye.

Note especially Hollreiser’s use of “purported” below.

With that in mind, consider this excellent point from Dave Behr:

Weird indeed.

Original story follows:

After reports yesterday that PokerStars missed a key conditional deadline in its pending deal to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino, word today from the ACC indicates the deal is dead – at least for now.

The story was first reported by John Brennan:

Excerpt from a statement by Atlantic Club Casino COO Michael Frawley:

“Our purchase agreement with PokerStars has been terminated. The Atlantic Club remains committed to the aggressive pursuit of the opportunities presented by online gambling.”

‘The advent of New Jersey’s online gaming legislation has changed Atlantic City’s future for the better and The Atlantic Club is absolutely going to be a part of that future,”

Timeline of PokerStars’ attempt to purchase the ACC

The timeline of PokerStars’ (apparently failed) attempt to purchase the ACC is a strange one:

Deal “really” dead? PokerStars done in NJ?

While certainly not a positive development for those who wish to see PokerStars operating in New Jersey, the news is hardly a death knell for the site’s chances to be a part of regulated online gambling in the state.

For example, this news could simply be part of a negotiating ploy on the part of the Atlantic Club Casino. It’s also possible that PokerStars could participate in the state as a software provider in partnership with a licensed operator, a role that does not require ownership of a land-based casino. Finally, PokerStars could always seek to purchase another NJ property, although the list of bargain-priced gambling halls looks pretty thin after the ACC.

Not everyone is certain that the deal has completely fallen through. Howard Stutz of the LVRJ tweeted these responses to the news:

… and in a story on NJ.com that preceded Brennan’s, online gambling proponent State Sen. Raymond Lesniack said:

“I wouldn’t believe anything right now and just wait until the decision from the Division of Gaming Enforcement […] What I know is that the opponents of PokerStars are out there in full force trying to prevent them from operating in New Jersey.”

Again, note that Lesniack’s comments were in response to the WSJ story about the missed deadline, not Brennan’s report that the deal is dead.

I will update this story as events warrant.

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Chris Grove
- Chris is the publisher of OnlinePokerReport.com. Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.