PokerStars, the biggest most legitimate online poker site in the world, which got that way by thumbing its nose at the US government for their stupid laws, has gotten the big X in Nevada, and in New Jersey … so where to next? According to my personal Linked In recommended jobs feed, the less pokery-sounding Stars/Tilt parent Rational Group seem to be setting up shop in California, with a new open position(s?) to beef up their “social” gaming presence. Seems to make sense, with Cali kinda a holy grail as the only state, along with Texas, that could supply a profitably massive player pool. Or it could just be a play to recruit some Bay area tech talent …
Meanwhile, to catch up those of us who may have checked out for a semester, gaming law expert I. Nelson Rose explains rather succinctly the other day, in an appearance on Fox Business, where things currently stand with Obamapoker the slow rollout of American online gambling. And, he explains, why California online poker doesn’t really stand a chance this year (even though politicians are still happy to take your donations for giving it the good-ole college try) — go 2014!
No one can say for certain how much New Jersey’s online gaming market will actually be worth.
State regulators, lawmakers, casino industry insiders and Wall Street analysts have estimated Internet wagers could generate as much as $1.2 billion in gaming revenues in the first year — roughly 40 percent of what Atlantic City’s 12 casinos collected in 2012.
That’s one reason Internet gaming providers have hopes for a seat at the table.
The state has outlined an aggressive schedule. Regulations have been drafted and the Casino Control Commission wants to see cards in the air — or on computer screens — by Thanksgiving.
New Jersey has restricted operation of online gaming to Atlantic City’s casinos, which have until June 30 to line up their website technology partners. The state set a July 29 deadline for completed applications to the Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Anyone missing the deadlines could be sidelined until next year.
With Black Friday cases winding up, Mark Scheinberg could make out as the biggest winner in the poker universe.
The chief executive of online gaming giant PokerStars agreed to forfeit $50 million to federal prosecutors to rid his himself of a two-year-old complaint filed by the U.S. government.
In a settlement agreement this week with the Department of Justice, the money being paid by PokerStars CEO Mark Scheinberg is based on allegations contained in the April 15, 2011, complaint filed by federal prosecutors against PokerStars as part of the government’s “Black Friday” crackdown on illegal Internet gaming operations.
“The agreement is not in response to any action that had been brought against Mark and contains no admission of wrongdoing, culpability or guilt on his behalf,” PokerStars spokesman Eric Hollreiser said in an emailed statement.
Last July, PokerStars accepted a $731 million forfeiture to the federal government to end the company’s legal battle with prosecutors.
Three senior officers of PokerStars were charged in April 2011 with bank fraud, money laundering and running an illegal Internet gambling enterprise.
The Justice Department absolved the company of any wrongdoing in accepting Internet wagers from American customers. PokerStars also wasn’t prohibited from entering legal U.S. gaming markets.
Attorneys for online gaming giant PokerStars said an attempt by the American Gaming Association to block the company from buying a failing Atlantic City casino was a thinly veiled anti-competitive campaign to keep new ownership out of the market.
In a lengthy letter to New Jersey gaming regulators, attorneys for PokerStars ownership, The Rational Group, said the American Gaming Association lacks standing in the matter.
Attorneys also raised a reported offer by Caesars Entertainment Corp. to sell the Rio to PokerStars. According to the letter, Caesars offered to sell the off-Strip casino to PokerStars because it would better the two companies relationship and would help PokerStars earn a Nevada gaming license.
PokerStars declined the offer because it had no plans to acquire another casino in the near term, according to a letter dated March 10 from Washington, D.C., attorneys Jeff Ifrah and David Deitch. Within weeks the AGA submitted its petition to the (New Jersey Casino Control) Commission.
Caesars Entertainment Corp. reportedly offered to sell the off-Strip Rio and the World Series of Poker to PokerStars, a spokesman for the owner of the online gaming business claimed in an email Tuesday.
The statement by Eric Hollreiser, head of corporate communications for The Rational Group, came a day after attorneys for the American Gaming Association wrote in a legal brief that PokerStars had been a “criminal enterprise for many years.”
The Washington, D.C.-based trade organization wants New Jersey gaming regulators to reject PokerStars’ application to operate the failing Atlantic Club Casino in Atlantic City.
Caesars representatives declined to comment on any “assertions” made by PokerStars.
Hollreiser, who is based at The Rational Group’s corporate offices in the Isle of Man, said PokerStars “declined the offer because we had no plans to acquire another casino in the near term.”
Online gaming giant PokerStars folded its hand last summer after a 15-month legal battle with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Since that time the company has been on a heater.
It was the right call for PokerStars to accept a $731 million forfeiture to the federal government and shed a nine-count indictment. The settlement also absolved PokerStars of any wrongdoing in accepting Internet wagers from American customers.
PokerStars, through its Isle of Man-based parent The Rational Group, said in January it was buying a casino in Atlantic City. On Feb. 21, it announced plans to open a live-play poker room at the City of Dreams in Macau, while its online business grew to more than 50 million registered customers through legal Internet gaming markets.
The only place PokerStars can’t earn a seat at the table is Nevada.
The gaming market has seemingly been covered by dark clouds for much of the past six years. Last week’s announcement that Revel, the Boardwalk’s newest resort, was filing for bankruptcy less than a year after opening, didn’t shock anyone.
Bad news has become expected.
Atlantic City gaming revenues have declined more than 40 percent over the last six years. The Boardwalk suffered through labor strife, competition from resorts in neighboring states, casino closures, stalled investments and the recession.
When Hurricane Sandy washed ashore in October, shutting down portions of the Boardwalk for as long as to a week, several analysts quietly wondered whether the freakish storm was a warning sign from above.
Wall Street is sold on the parent company of online gaming giant PokerStars taking ownership of a downtrodden casino in Atlantic City.
The question that remains is whether or not New Jersey gaming regulators will sign off on the deal.
On Tuesday, Isle of Man-based The Rational Group, which owns PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, filed papers with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, seeking approval to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel from Resorts International Holdings.
There is now a 90-day period in which the Division of Gaming Enforcement will conduct an investigation and then report its findings to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. The casino commission will then have 30 days to hold hearings and ultimately make a determination on suitability.