Rational Group, parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker has joined an agreement to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The Hotel is currently owned by Resorts International Holdings, although it is known that it is currently struggling, and reports from early December 2012 suggested that the purchase would cost less than $50 million which baffled some poker players as to why the price was so low.
Rational Group’s PokerStars to enter New Jersey Market
Acquiring the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel would safely secure almost 2,000 jobs, although any details regarding the terms of the deal, including the purchase price have not been disclosed, so it is all currently speculative.
It has been known for some time that the Hotel has been operating at a loss of millions, however the Rational acquisition is thought to improve financial viability of the Casino, and increase the offerings available in Atlantic City.
The first 9 months of 2012 saw a $13.6 million operating loss, and the final quarter’s data will not be released until later in 2013. With gambling revenue falling 11% in 2012, Atlantic Club fell to 10th place (out of 12), something needed to change.
New Jersey to legalize Online Gambling
This purchase agreement has come to light at the same time New Jersey has put forward proposals for legalizing online gambling. On 20th December last year, the legislature approved a bill that would allow online gambling in New Jersey, however, the measure is waiting to be signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie, who has until the beginning of February 2013 to decide to sign it or veto the decision. After vetoing a separate online gambling bill almost two years ago, as it would have “violated New Jersey’s constitution”, the new bill proposal is said to be revised to address Christie’s constitutional concerns.
An amendment to the bill, added in December 2012 allows offshore companies to apply for NJ casino licenses, which obviously allowed Rational Group (located on the Isle Of Man) to swoop in. Being one of the biggest online gambling operators worldwide, Rational Group is expected to be put under intense regulations in New Jersey. After paying $547 million last year over Full Tilt Poker, Poker Stars have admitted to no wrongdoing or guilt, and can re-enter the US marketplace in states and jurisdictions where online gambling is legal.
The Division of Gaming Enforcement confirmed that an application was received from PokerStars on Tuesday.
More news will be posted as and when it is released, you can read more on the application for the license at poker.gamble.co.uk