It’s official. Any possible relationship between the Rational Group (parent company of PokerStars) and the Atlantic Club is over.
The decision delivered this weekend after months of fighting in and out of the courtroom. “We are no longer pursuing an acquistion of the Atlantic Club,” said a Rational Group spokesman in an emailed statement.
The Rational Group had originally signed on to purchase the Atlantic Club for a scant $15 million. The discounted price would have rescued the financially-spiralling casino and given PokerStars the platform it needs to enter the massive online potential of the Atlantic City market. The relationship was opposed by the American Gaming Association as well as several local casinos, and several statements were made publicly with regards to the character of a company who was penalized with violating US Federal Law and UIGEA.
The deal between Rational Group and Atlantic Club fizzled in May, when the Atlantic Club claimed the Rational Group didn’t hold to its contractual obligations when it failed to receive an interim casino authorization to operate in time for the closing. The Rational Group fought back, took it to court, and lost, which allowed the Atlantic Club to start courting new, and one could guess higher, offers.
The Rational Group has since moved on to greener pastures, aligning itself with Resorts Casino Hotel to provide its iGaming technologies. It has since applied for a license to operate as a “casino service industry enterprise”, which will allow it’s PokerStars brand to provide Internet gaming.
While the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement has declared that the Rational Group’s application for licensure will be “reviewed as any other provider for Internet gaming“, PokerStars is expected to face additional scrutiny because of its torrid history. While it has worked hard to make the $731 million settlement to the US Justice Department lawsuit water under the bridge, questions surround the accusations of money laundering, illegal gambling, and bank fraud, even though PokerStars admitted no fault or wrongdoing.