According to various media outlets, PokerStars has formally made an offer to purchase The Atlantic Club which is a Atlantic City, NJ casino. No firm figures have been released about the possible price but it has been rumored since December to be around $50,000,000.
Along with the official offer Rational Group US Holdings, has started discussions with the New Jersey Casino Control Commission (NJCCC) about the purchase. The application sent to the commission outlines what Rational Group’s intentions are with the Atlantic Club. Rational Group stated they are looking to pump considerable amounts of money into the beleaguered casino which will help save and secure over 2,000 jobs. They will also look to expand on the offerings within the casino by offering possibly a poker room which the Atlantic Club currently does not offer.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported “The purchase will improve the overall economic and competitive conditions of Atlantic City and the sate of New Jersey.” They also reported “Rational US is a willing and enthusiastic prospective purchaser and it intents to improve the financial viability of the property and improve the offerings available in Atlantic City.”
After the application was filled with the NJCCC, Michael Frawley the Atlantic Club COO & Eric Hollreiser a spokesperson for Rational Group released a joint press release stating “The acquisition of the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel will secure 2,000 jobs and maintain the economic benefits the casino brings to New Jersey.”
This deal was rumored to be very close in December and it has finally reached a point where a written agreement was signed to allow the Rational Group to submit an offical application to the NJCCC for consideration.
In order for the deal to officially close a key milestone will have to be completed. The milestone is gaining the approval by the NJCCC which will be bumpy for the Rational Group due to competitors raising issues and the fact that Isai Scheinberg is still wanted by the US DOJ for his involvement in PokerStars before Black Friday.
This move is designed to give Rational Group (PokerStars & Full Tilt Poker) a leg up in the US legal online poker environment. New Jersey is waiting Governor Christie’s signature on a landmark bill which will legalize all forms of online gambling within the state of New Jersey. In order to qualify for a license for online gambling the company must have a physical presence in Atlantic City & all gaming servers must be in Atlantic City as well.
It is my view reading through the lines about this offer, that the bill to legalize online gambling in NJ will 100% become law either by Governor Christie signing it or deferring to not sign it and allowing it to automatically become law in early February. The Rational Group is politically connected within the state of NJ and would not be purchasing the Atlantic Club without 100% certainty that online poker would be legal in the near future.