Pokerstars’ Future in US Online Gambling Market Bleak, as Contract to Buy AC Casino Expires
It seems that Rational Group gambled on a deal to purchase Atlantic Club (AC) casino from its owner Colony Capital LLC, as the contract came with a condition that Rational secure an interim Internet casino license from New Jersey’s regulatory bodies, on or before April 26, 2013.
At the time of the purchase agreement last December 2012, there was no clear indication yet, if New Jersey would even legalize Internet gambling. In fact, Governor Christie approved the legalization bill only last February; had the governor vetoed the bill, then the veto would have nulled the purchase contract.
Inasmuch as the April 26, 2013 deadline has elapsed, Colony Capital LLC through the COO of the AC casino formally declared that the deal between them and The Rational Group is officially off. This recent development made Pokerstars’ entry into New Jersey’s regulated online gambling industry, look bleak. Rational Group still has to find another NJ casino to purchase or to collaborate with, in order to meet New Jersey’s licensing requirements. Another option is for Rational Group to re-negotiate with Colony Capital LLC, and probably, for a higher purchase price.
The New Jersey Casino Control Commission has not issued an interim casino permit but is waiting for the State’s Division of Gaming and Enforcement NJDGE) to conduct and complete its investigation of Rational Group’s license application, which started only after the latter completed its application on April 10. Thereafter, the NJ Casino Control Commission still has 30 days to perform further evaluations before arriving at a final decision, whether to approve or not, Rational Group’s license to operate and offer online poker and online casino games via a land-based casino in New Jersey.