The world biggest online poker site is PokerStars with over 50 million players registered at the beginning of 2012. However, the multi-billionaire company now looks like it has plans to move into brick and mortar casinos after a story reported by The Wall Street Journal indicated it is currently negotiating to purchase the struggling Atlantic Club Casino Hotel in Atlantic City for around $50 million.
Since August 2008, Atlantic City’s casinos have been in the doldrums with revenues consistently declining on a monthly basis. The Atlantic Club casino is no exception and this year through to October takings are down by 12% to around $110 million. Having PokerStars’ considerable expertise and resources will surely prove a boon for the beleaguered casino, while giving PokerStar’s access once more to the US gambling market.
Previous to April 2011, PokerStars’ online poker operation was accessible in the US but the service was then shut down by the Department of Justice on a day that has come to be known as Black Friday. Only recently, the company agreed to pay the US government $731 million as part of a an overall settlement, which also included taking over troubled online poker room Full Tilt Poker.
Since then, PokerStars has been looking for a route back into the lucrative US gaming market, and despite pre-Black Friday lobbying to get online poker legalized in Nevada, the poker room now finds itself with a “credibility issue to overcome,” according to Nevada’s Gaming Policy Committee member William Horne.
Consequently, many experts in the gaming industry believe PokerStar’s strategy is to now enter the beleaguered Atlantic City market so that if New Jersey were then to introduce an intrastate poker system, PokerStars would have its opening to offer online poker across the country if a federal bill is one day approved.
As an article from Diamond Flush Poker recently announced: “..the House and the Senate in N.J. are said to be working together to get it [online gaming bill] finalized. Earlier this week Senator Ray Lesniak predicted a vote by both houses to take place before Christmas..there is high confidence of the bill passing in both houses and Governor Christie giving his approval when it comes for his signature.”