PokerStars Tries New Jersey Again, Partners with Resorts Casino
Fresh on the news of a preliminary setback in its ongoing New Jersey appeal over the botched purchase attempt of Atlantic City’s Atlantic Club Casino, PokerStars is back in the New Jersey casino news in another way. PokerStars parent Rational Group and New Jersey’s Resorts Casino Hotel have reached a deal for PokerStars to be a software provider to Resorts Casino in the upcoming New Jersey i-poker market.
The news on this one was dropped with a press release yesterday, which judging by the release’s date (July 7th, below) was probably rushed out after news of the deal broke. The pact between Stars and Resorts Casino still depends on NJ regulatory approval, which means that there’s a good chance the American Gaming Association will be right back in there swinging in an attempt to find a way to coerce Jersey regulators to keep this deal from happening.
Anyhow, here’s the very brief release, and we’ll add a couple of important notes below.
RESORTS CASINO HOTEL AND POKERSTARS TO LAUNCH IGAMING IN NEW JERSEY
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ, July 7, 2013— Resorts Casino Hotel and The Rational Group, operator of PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site, have reached an agreement to provide online gaming in New Jersey, the companies announced today.
The agreement links the first casino to open in Atlantic City with one of the biggest online gaming companies in the world.
“This is another blue chip partner for Resorts to complete a wonderful series of brands – Mohegan Sun, Margaritaville and now PokerStars,” said Morris Bailey, Resorts’ Company Chairman.
“Resorts is a fantastic partner for us and we are looking forward to launch PokerStars in the U.S. in association with the other quality brands Resorts has brought to Atlantic City,” said Mark Scheinberg, CEO of The Rational Group. “We are very happy to invest in New Jersey and we are excited about building a successful relationship with Resorts.”
The agreement is pending approval by the New Jersey regulatory authorities.
* * * * *
Resorts Casino is now a completely separate entity from Resorts International Holdings, LLC (Colony Capital), the company that PokerStars thought they’d purchased the Atlantic Club property from. This “Resorts” brand has actually been around for a long time; the Resorts Casino Atlantic Property was actually the first casino/hotel to open outside Nevada, dating all the way back to 1978.
This Resorts property was actually the flagship of the old Resorts International family, until Colony Capital defaulted. From there the casino, which at one point was only days away from closing, went back to the banks, and then to Dennis Gomes’ DGMB Casinos group. Since 2012, it’s been run by Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, under the name Mohegan Gaming Advisors, the same folks who run Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun.
This deal opens up all sorts of possibilities, if allowed to go through by New Jersey regulators. Not only would New Jersey residents be able to play on something like the English-language version of PokerStars France (pokerstars.fr) — which, by the way, demonstrates to regulators that Stars is already able to provide adequate geo-location security — but it would give Stars and the Mohegans a leg up in Connecticut and elsewhere in the Northeast as well, in the event some of those states follow New Jersey (and Nevada and Delaware).
The kicker, of course, is the level of trust established poker consumers would already have in any Stars-designed software. It’s a safe bet that if this deal goes through, the Resorts Casino / PokerStars partnership would provide a windfall of online consumers, who would favor this brand to the detriment of others.
Stay tuned. This step represents a pullback of sorts for Stars, but by the same measure, it’s a far more realistic point of US reentry for PokerStars.