Poker fans rejoice! The popular online poker room, which once attracted the highest traffic in the US, is all set to make a comeback to the US. The poker operator, which was literally thrown out of the country almost two years ago, had closed its doors to poker players there. While the other poker rooms, namely Full Tilt and Absolute Poker fell completely, PokerStars managed not just to survive but do so well that it became the biggest online poker room in the world. The online poker major is now gearing up for a grand comeback to the place where poker was born. Read on to know how.
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PokerStars’ Plan to Purchase New Jersey Casino
Earlier this year, the online poker room settled a lawsuit filed by the US DoJ against it. PokerStars had to shell out an amount of $731 million in the process. Now, the poker giant is said to be in talks to acquire a land-based casino in Atlantic City. As per the reports, PokerStars is trying to buy the struggling Atlantic Club Casino in Atlantic City. The deal is apparently less than 50 million USD.
Apparently, PokerStars has made this move in anticipation that online poker will be legalized in New Jersey, which is likely to be well before the year ends. PokerStars, like many other online poker room and casino operators, has applied for a gaming operator’s license in NJ. The poker room will also go through rigorous investigation like the other applicants, according to a spokesperson for the Gaming Enforcement Division of New Jersey.
So if PokerStars gets a license to operate in New Jersey, and if the nationwide online gambling legalization bill is passed, then PokerStars will undoubtedly have a strong footing in the market.
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Regaining Past Glory?
Before it was kicked out of the US in 2011, and before its CEO was indicted, PokerStars was in the forefront pushing Nevada to offer legalized online gambling. The online poker giant was also in the process of making a deal with Wynn Resorts at that time, but after the indictment, the deal was scrapped. Also, Nevada went on to legalize online poker; only PokerStars could not benefit from it.
According to a law maker of the state, PokerStars seems to have made a wiser decision by choosing to make a comeback in New Jersey and not in Nevada, as it faces severe credibility issues there.
Senator Welcomes the Idea
Raymond Lesniak, a strong supporter of online gambling and a New Jersey state senator has praised PokerStars’ idea of buying a land-based casino in Atlantic City. The senator said that he was pleased to see an online poker room of PokerStars stature interested in teaming up with an Atlantic City casino to offer quality gaming services in the state. He also said that the fact that PokerStars chose New Jersey over Nevada as a possible location for its headquarters, only proves that New Jersey, and not Nevada, has a better chance of becoming the online gambling hub in the US.
He added that PokerStars, being the largest online poker room in the world, would be welcomed with open arms, if it wants to open its American headquarters in Atlantic City. Also, new investment is good news for New Jersey. The lawmakers in NJ have made a few amendments to the proposed bill for legalization of online gambling, so that PokerStars and Full Tilt can start their operations in the state.
The bill proposed by Lesniak, the S-1565, is being considered by the senate and could as well be passed before Christmas. To accommodate PokerStars and Full Tilt in the online gambling market in the state, the proposers have removed a “bad actor” clause from the bill. The Reid-Kyl bill, which many have criticized as Nevada-friendly, also has a bad actor clause, one of the reasons why it may not be passed before 2013.
Lesniak is pushing for introducing online poker before 2013, to beat Nevada as the hub of online gaming activities. The state is also working to ensure that the legal online poker sites are all set to start operations before New Year, even without the federal legislation.