If At First You Don't Succeed …

If at first you don’t succeed, even if it costs you over ten million dollars and forces you to file a lawsuit, try try again!  That’s PokerStars’ motto when it comes to trying to obtain a New Jersey online gaming license.
In round one, PokerStars teamed up with Atlantic Club Casino and Hotel.  Without rehashing the details that led to the deal’s demise, I will at least touch on the high points.  Atlantic agreed to sell the Hilton to PokerStars for $15 Million.  Two conditions of the deal were (1) PokerStars would cover the casino’s operational losses while the deal was being finalized, and (2) the deal must close by April 26, 2013.  PokerStars shelled out over $11 Million to cover the losses, and (according to PokerStars, due in part to the New Jersey regulators dragging their feet) the deal did not close by the outside date.  PokerStars sued,  asking the court to do various things, including extend the date by which the deal must close.  The court denied all of PokerStars’ requests, and the bottom line is that PokerStars ended up $11 – $15 Million poorer and don’t have anything to show for it.
Incidentally, it has been implied that the New Jersey regulators “disapprove” of PokerStars’ business model post-UIGEA.  There was also a large amount of lobbying against the deal from the American Gaming Association, whose members do not look favorably on a return by the poker giant to the United States market.  What is wrong with you, New Jersey regulators and American Gaming Association?  Are you seriously that out of touch?  I am hard pressed to think of a company that has done more to serve the US online poker market, i.e. the actual players, than PokerStars.  I also think if the issues were fairly litigated, there is a reasonable likelihood that PokerStars may be found to have not violated US laws.   Wake up New Jersey – you want PokerStars as a partner.
For round two, PokerStars has teamed up with Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel.  My hunch is that the details of this deal look very different based on what PokerStars learned from the Atlantic Club deal.  It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out – my fingers are crossed for the citizens of New Jersey.

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