The American Gaming Association (AGA) filed a brief On Monday, March 5, with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) and the Casino Control Commission in opposition to PokerStars’ intention to purchase The Atlantic Club in Atlantic City. On March 10th, 2013 the Rational Group, parent company of PokerStars, responded with a letter of its own to the DGE asking that the AGA’s brief be rejected.
John Brennan of NorthJersey.com, reported that the 15-page letter asks the DGE to reject “AGA’s thinly-veiled anti-competitive campaign against the entry of a competitor into the market.” Brennan went on to state that there are three major points in the letter:
- “The AGA lacks a ‘significant interest in the outcome’ of these proceedings”
- “The AGA’s participation is not ‘likely to add constructively to their case’”
- “To permit the AGA to participate in this matter would be destructively anticompetitive, and would do a disservice to the people of New Jersey.”
“Rational recognizes that New Jersey’s licensing statutes and regulations set the highest standards in the industry and are models for other jurisdictions,” attorneys Jeff Ifrah and David Deitch said in the letter. They stated that a decision regarding the purchase could be made “without the unsolicited assistance of a self-appointed group of Rational’s competitors,” and that the “AGA has no [such] firsthand knowledge... The AGA’s sole interest here is economic warfare.”
The Rational letter also suggests that the AGA’s brief will cause unjust delays: “Every piece of information that the AGA seeks to present comes from publicly available sources, and nearly all of it has been widely disseminated in both the traditional media and over the internet... The Division is no doubt aware of these facts, and hence the AGA’s participation would be virtually valueless.”
The letter also mentions Caesars’ obvious attempt on February 8th to do business with PokerStars by selling them the Rio Casino in Las Vegas: “At that time, Caesars suggested that this acquisition would give Pokerstars a better relationship with Caesars and would help PokerStars gain a license in Nevada.” PokerStars declined the offer.
The New Jersey Casino Control Commission is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to determine whether or not the AGA will be allowed to participate in the license hearing for PokerStars — licensing isn’t expected to happen for several weeks.
Visit John Brennan’s blog on NorthJersey.com for the full report.