The deadline to purchase the struggling Atlantic Club Casino by PokerStars.com's parent company, Rational Group, has expired according to a report by the Wall Street Journal that cited anonymous sources. News of the expired deal between Rational Group and Colony Capital LLC, the investment firm that owns the Atlantic Club Casino, was reported on Tuesday, April 30th, 2013.
Back in January when Rational Group agreed to purchase the casino, the acquisition was dependent upon Rational Group's obtaining a temporary license from gaming regulators by Friday, April 26th. The date came and went without the necessary regulations in place. Some sources believe it may take until August before New Jersey regulators make a decision regarding PokerStars' license.
Rational Group Head of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreiser told PokerNews.com, "Given the confidential nature of our agreement, it would not be appropriate for me to comment."
One of PokerStars' strongest supporters in the rush to claim a piece of New Jersey's looming online gambling market is State Sen. Raymond Lesniak. Lesniak told NJ.com that it's possible the deal is still alive.
"I wouldn’t believe anything right now and just wait until the decision from the Division of Gaming Enforcement," Lesniak said Tuesday. "What I know is that the opponents of PokerStars are out there in full force trying to prevent them from operating in New Jersey."
The American Gaming Association (AGA) opposed Rational Group's re-entry to the United States by filing a brief with the Division of Gaming Enforcement to challenge the license in March. The AGA's documents claimed that PokerStars was operating in the United States as a criminal enterprise and shouldn't be allowed to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino or offer services in the United States.
PokerStars could come back into the United States legally through the acquisition of the Atlantic Club Casino via New Jersey which plans to have online gaming up and running by November after passing legislation this year. As New Jersey forms compacts for player pools with other states to become the center for internet gambling in the country, PokerStars could easily enter the entire network.
PokerStars left the U.S. market in April 2011 after the company was charged, along with two rival online poker rooms, with money laundering, bank fraud, and illegal gambling operations. But in August 2012 Ratiional Group settled with the Department of Justice while admitting no wrongdoing and that allows the company to legally apply for a gaming license in the United States once the applicable laws are passed.