PokerStars Facing Critics In Return To US Online Gambling Market

PokerStars is preparing to re-enter the US online gambling market by way of purchasing a New Jersey land-based casino. That is not sitting well with some critics that point to the legal troubles PokerStars had in the US over the past couple of years.

At one time, PokerStars was the largest provider of online poker to US gamblers. The company had a near-monopoly on the industry at a time when many analysts believed that the US was the biggest online poker market in the world.

The bubble for PokerStars popped in 2011 when executives were arrested and indicted for violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The indictment of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker executives was the first of its kind pertaining to the UIGEA.

Last year, PokerStars settled their legal dispute with the US, agreeing to pay back US customers that had funds in their accounts at the time of the indictment. Additionally, PokerStars agreed to pay the US over $540 million in player funds. The settlement opened the door for the company to re-enter the US market should online gambling become regulated.

Fast-forward to January of this year, and word surfaced that PokerStars was in the process of purchasing the Atlantic Club Casino in Atlantic City. New Jersey was one of several states that at the time was considering regulating online poker. Those regulations came to fruition a few weeks ago when Governor Chris Christie signed a bill authorizing AC casinos to offer online gambling.

The problem now for PokerStars is that critics are looking at the foreign company as law-breakers. The American Gaming Association raised concerns Monday when publicly denouncing the sale of the Atlantic Club to PokerStars.

The sale has not been completed, but the agreement has been in place since the beginning of the year. PokerStars has not yet commented on the criticism, but all indications are the company is moving forward with their purchase of one of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos.

Lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to have online casinos up and running in the state by the end of the summer. Nevada and Delaware, two states that have also authorized online gambling, are in a race with New Jersey to become the first state in the nation to have online gambling available to their residents.

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