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PokerStars Could Buy Atlantic City Casino: WSJ

Wall Street Journal Reports That Company Is Eying Atlantic Club

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PokerStars, the world’s most-played poker site, is looking to buy a casino in beleaguered Atlantic City, The Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday.

The move reportedly is in anticipation of New Jersey legalizing online gambling, which the state could still do before the end of the year, a local lawmaker said Wednesday.

If PokerStars were to be licensed under a legal New Jersey intrastate poker system, it would have a foot in the door for offering poker nationwide if a federal bill ever passes.

Wall Street Journal sources said that PokerStars might buy the Atlantic Club casino from investment group Colony Capital. According to a state revenue report, as of October, the property had taken in $109,682,021 for the year — a 12-percent decline.

PokerStars was kicked out of the American market after online poker’s Black Friday in April 2011. The case against the company was settled in July, but its former leader, Isai Scheinberg, remains in the cross hairs of the Justice Department.

The government let PokerStars settle without admitting any wrongdoing.

With the massive $731 million settlement, PokerStars took over then-defunct Full Tilt Poker.

The New Jersey move is unique, but PokerStars has a history of being an active participant in online gaming plans in a U.S. state. Before Black Friday, the firm was lobbying to get Nevada to legalize online poker. Nevada eventually went on to legalize without PokerStars as its wingman.

PokerStars had a deal with Wynn Resorts, but that dissolved after the indictment.

Buying a casino in Atlantic City might make more sense than trying Nevada again, as a Silver State lawmaker told Card Player that the company has a “credibility issue to overcome” — because he thinks it wasn’t “candid” or “forthcoming” during its relationship with him. He said that the company probably had an idea that a federal investigation was ongoing at the time.