PokerStars Offers Many Questions About Potential Purchase Of Atlantic City Casino

The idea that online gaming giant PokerStars will acquire the struggling Atlantic Club Hotel-Casino in Atlantic City raises further interest in the ongoing debate over the legalization of internet gambling.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that PokerStars is negotiating a purchase of boardwalk real estate from private equity firm Colony Capital for less than $50 million. 바카라

This isn’t surprising. Acquiring a casino, originally built in the 1980s as a Golden Nugget by Steve Wynn, and most recently operated as the Atlantic City Hilton, for that price is actually a steal.

But one question is replacing all others. Can PokerStars, which agreed in August to pay $731 million to the federal government for a total of nine counts, get licensing from the strict New Jersey gaming regulators?

And, if the Isle of Man-based PokerStars makes the deal, could the company try a similar move in Nevada?

Legal sources confirmed the Wall Street Journal’s report Friday and said PokerStars’ lawyers had been spending time in New Jersey recently.

According to the paper, the deal depends on New Jersey legalizing online gaming in the state where legislation is currently being discussed in the legislature. If approved, gamblers will only be able to access websites within New Jersey’s borders, and the websites will be operated by Atlantic City casinos.

PokerStars resolved a legal issue with the U.S. Department of Justice on Aug. 1. The allegations were part of the U.S. federal government’s crackdown on Internet poker on Apr. 15, 2011. The company and its founders were named in a nine-count indictment and charged with bank fraud, money laundering, and running an illegal game business.

PokerStars agreed to pay a $731 million settlement, but did not admit any of the charges listed by government prosecutors. The company is also not barred from re-entering the U.S. gambling market. However, PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg is being charged with various charges, has not entered the U.S., and has not been arrested. The settlement called for Scheinberg to step down from the management position of the company, which is now run by his son.

Almost all of New Jersey’s gaming regulators forced MGM Resorts International out of Atlantic City in 2010. The gaming enforcement authority determined that the businessman Panshi Lake in Hong Kong, a joint venture partner of MGM Resorts in Macau, was unfit. The ruling was mainly due to her relationship with her father, controversial billionaire Stanley Ho, whose Macau casinos are alleged by international law enforcement to be under the influence of Chinese organized crime triads.

Pansy Ho has never been sued for illegal activities and has never paid a multi-million dollar fine to settle a government indictment. Pansy Ho’s business relationship with MGM Resorts was deemed appropriate by game regulators in Nevada and Mississippi.

For Atlantic City, where gaming sales fell 38 percent between 2006 and 2011 over the next two years and continue to decline in 2012, state regulators are willing to give PokerStars a chance.

A spokesperson for the New Jersey State Gaming Enforcement Agency told the Wall Street Journal that a “strict investigation” would be conducted on all license applicants, including PokerStars.

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