Only a few days after Michael Frawley COO of the Atlantic Club, issued a statement to New Jersey press stating that the purchase agreement with PokerStars had been terminated, adding only that it remained “… committed to the aggressive pursuit of the opportunities presented by online gambling”, the management of PokerStars’ parent company Rational Group confirm their commitment to securing a place in the New Jersey gaming market.
PokerStars’ management realize the importance of a play in New Jersey, one of the first two states to approve online gaming legislation but the only one not to introduce a bad actor clause -yet. A bad actor clause as introduced in Nevada legislation and proposed in Illinois is something that would prevent an operator who previously took wagers from US citizens to apply for an online gaming license in those states, even with a DoJ deal in place.
Just weeks ago, PokerStars completed its New Jersey application to receive a temporary license to operate online gaming in the state, a pre-requisite to the Atlantic Club deal. The Atlantic Club is having financial difficulties and almost 2,000 jobs are at risk. A cash rich suitor like PokerStars would be a prime candidate to turn the casino around with new investment if they were cleared for take-off by the New Jersey government. This deal has been PokerStars’ first land based play ever since a possible joint venture with Wynn Resorts was announced just before Black Friday two years ago.