As the largest largest lobbying and policy organization representing American casino interests, the American Gaming Association (AGA) represents several of the United States’ largest casino corporations including MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Boyd Gaming and other big casino groups.
In a brief to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission and Division of Gaming Enforcement, the AGA asserts that PokerStars is a “business built on deceit, chicanery, and the systematic flouting of U.S. law.” It further states that “Any action allowing PokerStars to be licensed would send a damaging message to the world of gaming, and to the world beyond gaming, that companies that engage in chronic lawbreaking are welcome in the licensed gaming business.” And, such a message “could cripple the industry’s public image for many years.”
The AGA’s brief further portrays PokerStars as a lawless criminal enterprise citing several examples.
PokerStars responded via twitter coming from Eric Hollreiser, PokerStars’ Director of Communications, who said that, “US DOJ said PokerStars is suitable to apply for a license in the U.S. and gave us the assets of our largest competitor [Full Tilt].”
Late last year, PokerStars settled a civil claim brought by the United States Department of Justice, in which it agreed to forfeit a combined total of $731 million for its previous US-facing operations, part of which was used to refund players whose online bankrolls had been frozen. As part of the deal, PokerStars also acquired the assets of Full Tilt.
Soon after, PokerStars entered into an agreement to purchase the troubled Atlantic City Club Casino for $50 million. They are awaiting for a decision by the New Jersey Gambling Board on the approval of such a deal which could potentially give PokerStars the ability to apply for an online gambling license in New Jersey and a first step to regaining access back to the United States internet gaming market, legally.
The casino purchase could also save about 2,400 jobs which are at risk if the application for a conditional New Jersey casino licensing is denied. Atlantic City Club has been losing money for years.
It is also believed that the AGA are largely responsible for the “bad actor” clause introduced into Nevada’s recently amended online poker law which will likely block PokerStars from receiving any approval for five years unless challenged in the courts.