The Rational Group, parent company of PokerStars online poker, stated its intention to salvage the deal with the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, even as the Atlantic Club announced on Wednesday that it is calling off the sale.
Said company spokesperson Eric Hollrseiser in a statement, “The Rational Group is remains entirely committed to resolving this situation and to our investment in New Jersey.”
The deal unraveled earlier this week as the Rational Group failed to obtain regulatory approval to take over the casino. Hollreiser said the Rational Group wanted to extend the deadline and pursue further negotiations, but had received a “purported notice of termination”. Hollreiser added, “It was the Rational Group’s expectation and understanding, based on the ongoing dealings between the parties, that the closing date would be extended to allow the transaction to be completed.”
The “will-they-or-won’t-they” drama has surrounded this deal from its beginnings. PokerStars was criticized by the American Gaming Association, who’s president called it a “criminal enterprise” when referring to PokerStars and its run-in with the US Department of Justice; the AGA submitted a rather brief to state regulators as well. State Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, upon hearing of the collapse of the sale, released a statement stating:
“New Jersey is known for its rigorous licensing practices. To become involved with a company like this one would have been an insult to everyone who has gone under scrutiny to work or do business in the casino industry over the last 30 years.”
While PokerStars admitted no guilt regarding the charges by the US Department of Justice, it did agree to settle for $731 million and has since kept a fairly transparent and clean record with the United States.
The Atlantic Club, which has been financially crippled through the recession and storm events, has been regarded as a casino with the most to gain from Internet gambling. While it’s losses last year totaled $19.2 million last year alone, the casino is showing signs of recovery in 2013, with revenue climbing 24% in the first quarter. Whether or not this was tied to the proposed PokerStars sale is not yet known.