PokerStars Potentially Weeks Away From Buying First US Casino

PokerStars was the leading online poker provider for US customers before the Department of Justice indicted the company for violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. After settling their legal issues with the US to the tune of $731 million, PokerStars is now eying a return to the market.

After having several deals with US casino companies fall through after the indictment last year, PokerStars has decided to go a different route this time around. The Wall Street Journal first reported that several people familiar with negotiations claim that PokerStars may be just weeks away from finalizing a deal to buy the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel from Colony Capital, an investment firm that currently owns the gaming facility.

The Club has been struggling, much like many of its Atlantic City casino counterparts, and fresh ownership may be the answer to help the casino survive. The risk for PokerStars does not appear to be too tall an order, with an estimated price of around $50 million.

The bigger gain for PokerStars would be the potential for operating their online poker site in New Jersey. The state is one of a handful in the US that has pushed online poker regulations over the past year, and with possible regulations coming soon, PokerStars is hoping the New jersey Gaming Commission would license PokerStars for an online casino.

PokerStars is a well-known brand in the US, and would be considered a leader in the online gambling industry from the start in the country. With gamblers already comfortable with PokerStars’ platform and safety features, the company would gain a significant advantage over its competitors.

Last year, foreign-licensed online gambling companies began to partner with US land-based casino owners, believing that if federal laws changed in the US, it would be the land-based owners that would get the first shot at licenses.

Earlier this year, the foreign companies began realizing they could purchase their own casinos in the US, and have just as strong a shot at receiving an online gaming license.

Before any of this becomes reality, the sources indicated that the New Jersey Legislature would have to pass an online gambling regulation law. Last year, lawmakers passed a bill that was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie. The governor, however, has stated he is open to signing an Internet gambling bill if it has the necessary protections for players. It is also unknown how passing such a bill without voter approval would be received in the state.

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