PokerStars’ parent company, The Rational Group, today appealed the a court ruling made on the 17th of May regarding their purchase of the Atlantic City Casino in New Jersey. This deal would have given PokerStars access to attempt to break into the newly regulated New Jersey Online gambling market.
The decision made on the 17th stated that the Contract between the Atlantic Club and the Rational Group had been voided due to Rational being unable to gain a Gaming Licence in New Jersey by April 26th, 2013. The ruling also allowed the Atlantic Club to keep the $11 Million it had been forwarded towards the sale price by PokerStars. PokerStars had also been supporting the Atlantic Club with up to $750,000 a week in order to ensure that the Casino remained liquid. The crux of the appeal by the Rational Group is that Judge Raymond Batten “misconstrued” the agreement and did not allow the New Jersey Casino regulators to conduct a review of the sale. The PokerStars legal team also contend that Batten took into account documents and witness testimony not formally entered into evidence.
The American Gaming Association has been at the heart of campaign to block PokerStars from gaining a foothold in the US regulated market, and have been contending that PokerStars is a “criminal enterprise” and as such is unsuitable to hold a gaming licence. This is of course a reference to the events surrounding Black Friday in April 2011, and the deal entered into last year where PokerStars took control of the remaining assets of Full Tilt Poker, and paid out $731 Million in a deal to end the legal issues surrounding the Black Friday Cases.
As we reported on the 12th, PokerStars current CEO, Mark Scheinberg has recently paid $50 Million to remove any legal issues from himself in regards to the previous Black Friday cases.
The Atlantic Casino has seen a revival in fortunes since the beginning of 2013, with revenues trending in an upwards direction, against the general trend in New Jersey, which has seen a fall against last year’s figures.
We will have to see what the New Jersey legal system makes of this appeal, and if there are any other twists and turns in this story. We’ll certainly be keeping track of this one, and we’ll let you know if anything changes.