PokerStars to Buy a Casino in Atlantic City?

PokerStars to Buy a Casino in Atlantic City?

Posted on 07/12/12 - by Theodor Mavrodis News

PokerStars already dominates the online poker world and according to various reports it’s seriously considering buying its way into the Atlantic City casino market.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that PokerStars is in talks with investment group Colony Capital to potentially buy the Atlantic Club in Atlantic City.

The Atlantic Club is one of the smaller casinos in AC and on the surface would seem an odd target for PokerStars but the online poker giant’s real intent is be to position itself for a foothold in the market if New Jersey legalizes online poker for state residents.

The New Jersey legislature previously approved a new law to offer online poker for residents but it was vetoed at the time by Governor Chris Christie.

The continued struggles of the gambling industry in Atlantic City has led many to speculate that Christie would not veto a similar bill if it were passed today.

PokerStars Makes Move Despite Swooning Revenue in Atlantic City

Christie has been vocal in supporting New Jersey’s current push to offer sportsbetting at its casinos, which has been approved and is in the works despite a federal law that forbids the state from offering sportsbetting.

Any online poker bill in New Jersey would likely limit operators to existing casinos, which would explain PokerStars’ interest in buying its way into the swooning gambling market in Atlantic City.

Competition from newer casinos in neighboring states such as Pennsylvania has decimated revenues for AC casinos.

Hopes were high that the new Revel casino would spur new traffic and gambling interest but so far the majority of casinos -- including the Atlantic Club -- have seen revenues and gambling traffic continue to dwindle quarter after quarter.

Nevada is poised to be the first US state to offer its own online poker sites for residents, with New Jersey and others likely to follow in its footsteps if games are successfully launched.