PokerStars came out swinging on Monday accusing the American Gaming Association of launching an anti-competitive campaign. The AGA threw the first punch last week when it submitted a brief to the Division of Gaming Enforcement and the Casino Control Commission stating it was opposed to PokerStars being given an interim casino authorization, something required for its potential purchase of a land-based casino in Atlantic City.
“The AGA’s sole interest here is economic warfare,” stated PokerStars legal council in a Press of Atlantic City article. “For all of its lofty rhetoric, the only interest the AGA actually has in this proceeding derives from the fact that some of its members perceive themselves to be Rational’s competitors.”
According to Rational, Caesars Entertainment, which owns four different casinos in Atlantic City and which as representatives on the American Gaming Association’s Board of Directors, is retaliating against PokerStars because the international online poker giant spurned an offer to buy the Rio Casino in Las Vegas.
Caesars Entertainment has offered a “no comment” response on the offer to “give PokerStars a better relationship with Caesars and would help PokerStars gain a license in Nevada,” according to Rational in a Press of Atlantic City article.
Caesars’ alleged if-you-can’t-beat-them-get-them-to-buy-one-of-your-casinos strategy failed, as PokerStars declined the offer, stating it had no plans to acquire a casino in addition to the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.
Atlantic City, forever in the shadow of Las Vegas as America’s second favorite playground, could come into a light of its own with the success of its online gambling campaign. Not limited to offer online online poker, as in Nevada, New Jersey’s larger population base could edge the state into an increased market share, and attract larger fish than Las Vegas shark bath.