AGA Trying to Stop PokerStars' New Jersey Casino Purchase[ return to main articles page ]

By: Dan Katz    [See all articles by Dan Katz]
Published on Mar 5th, 2013
The American Gaming Association (AGA) filed a brief with the New Jersey Casino Control Commission and Division of Enforcement on Monday expressing its opposition to PokerStars' parent company's petition for Interim Casino Authorization (ICA). Rational Group, which owns Stars, filed the application in January after entering into an agreement to purchase Atlantic City's Atlantic Club Casino Hotel from Resorts International.

In the 24-page brief, the AGA cites PokerStars' continued operation in the United States after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006 and subsequent civil forfeiture against it by the U.S. Government in 2011 as reasons for not allowing PokerStars' ownership group to become licensed.

The AGA minced no words, saying, "The ICA is designed to expedite conditional licensing of qualified licensees, not open the door into New Jersey's gaming industry for applicants who cannot meet the law's standards for integrity and honesty. Any action allowing PokerStars to be licensed would send a damaging message to the world of gaming, and to the world beyond gaming, that companies that engage in chronic lawbreaking are welcome in the licensed gaming business. That message would dramatically undermine public confidence in gaming regulation and could cripple the industry's public image for many years."

The AGA's membership includes many land-based casino companies such as Boyd Gaming, which owns the Borgata in Atlantic City; Caesars Entertainment, which owns four Atlantic City casinos; Las Vegas Sands; MGM Resorts International; and Churchill Downs.

PokerStars has responded to the AGA's complaint, telling media outlets, among other things, "These are matters for expert regulators to determine, not self-interested partisans picking a public fight. The U.S. Department of Justice has said PokerStars is suitable to apply for a license in the U.S. and saw fit to give us the assets of our largest competitor and entrust us to compensate their customers outside of the U.S."

Many in the poker community agree with PokerStars' assessment. On the Two Plus Two poker forums, comments included "Slimy, dirty, and purely self-interest bull." One poster added, "This isn't just about NJ, this is about the AGA attempting to establish its membership as the only ones worthy of being trusted to serve i-gaming in the U.S."

Others looked at arguments on both sides of the coin. One commenter noted, "There is a lot of talk about fairness, but remember this: PokerStars built its advantage in the industry by flouting U.S. law for years while the casino interests here stayed away from the illegal enterprise."

In a bit of a twist that may be of interest to those on the PokerStars' side of the issue, Nathan Vardi of Forbes reported on Tuesday that Caesars Entertainment contacted PokerStars about a business deal back in February. PokerStars spokesperson Eric Hollreiser told Forbes, "Caesars Entertainment approached PokerStars and offered to sell us certain assets, such as the Rio Casino in Las Vegas. Caesars suggested that this acquisition would give us a better relationship with Caesars and would help PokerStars gain a license in Nevada."

He added that PokerStars declined because it was already in the process of buying the Atlantic Club and did not want to purchase another casino "in the near-term."

Now, Caesars and PokerStars could be headed for a battle in the online gaming space in New Jersey, as Governor Chris Christie just signed a bill into law that makes internet gambling legal in the state.

PokerStars, the world's largest online poker operator, will likely apply for a gaming license and go head-to-head in New Jersey with Caesars, which controls much of the brick-and-mortar gambling in Atlantic City. Unless PokerStars adds gaming products, though, it would probably only offer poker, while Caesars could offer an array of games to New Jersey residents.

Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitter and Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.

Comments

  1. "Feck outta here AGA" ~every New Jersey resident I know
  2. Politics, lol.
     
  3. Others looked at arguments on both sides of the coin. One commenter noted, “There is a lot of talk about fairness, but remember this: PokerStars built its advantage in the industry by flouting U.S. law for years while the casino interests here stayed away from the illegal enterprise.”^^ think they got this wrong casinos and there short sighted thinking was a big reason for creating the "illegal" market that allowed pokerstars to flourish.
  4. PokerStars has responded to the AGA’s complaint, telling media outlets, among other things "Go Fuck Yourself"..

    Attn AGA thread scanners, "we'll shut you down in a minute"...WE, US, put y'all together, we can easily dismanltle you, so, "you betaa watch it"
  5.  
    Originally Posted by frizzlefry777 View Post

    Others looked at arguments on both sides of the coin. One commenter noted, “There is a lot of talk about fairness, but remember this: PokerStars built its advantage in the industry by flouting U.S. law for years while the casino interests here stayed away from the illegal enterprise.”^^ think they got this wrong casinos and there short sighted thinking was a big reason for creating the "illegal" market that allowed pokerstars to flourish.

    Las Vegas is clueless as i have said before. Remember this is the same town that destroyed their own horseracing and sportsbetting businesses as well!! They made all the island and soon after European sportsbooks filthy rich because of their stupidity...of course they did the same with online poker. Mgm could have stepped up or and tried to buy Full Tilt and make good on US customers bankrolls and become heroes...why didn't they again? Oh yea, cause they sunk 13 or 14 billion (such a high figure i can't remember the exact amount anymore) into the ever pathetic and disastrous 'City Center' project!! Way to go assholes. I try not to dwell on this shit but these greedy fucking Las Vegas casinos make me sick anymore...im sorry.
     
  6. I love how people keep saying it's an "illegal" market" when its not and never has been. There is no federal law that makes online poker "illegal".....but if we say it enough times it just becomes a fact.
  7.  
    Originally Posted by Diver1 View Post

    I love how people keep saying it's an "illegal" market" when its not and never has been. There is no federal law that makes online poker "illegal".....but if we say it enough times it just becomes a fact.

    When I bring this up, even with bigwigs with the PPA I get ignored. RIGHT NOW Poker Stars should be able to operate in the US, there is no law prohibiting it, or any law prohibiting them from working with banks as UIGEA does NOT apply to online poker.
     
  8. that's funny. notice they're no longer calling Pokerstars a ponzi? They left out how Pokerstars is the best in the business, settled all it's shit with the DOJ and bailed out FTP too. Everybody afraid to let pokerstars compete. How silly...but standard....
  9.  
    Originally Posted by snaggs View Post

    When I bring this up, even with bigwigs with the PPA I get ignored. RIGHT NOW Poker Stars should be able to operate in the US, there is no law prohibiting it, or any law prohibiting them from working with banks as UIGEA does NOT apply to online poker.

    Well.....this is where it gets tricky and sticky.

    1st, Stars cant operate in the US because they signed a contract with the DOJ saying they wont operate in the US until online poker is "legalized" and regulated.
    2nd is the UIGEA and it does apply to poker....kinda. The UIGEA made it illegal for the banks to process gambling transactions which is why Stars and Tilt started getting creative with the payment processing.

    I find the "legalized" part of all this to be retarded. I think the DOJ should force Starbucks Coffee to close down until the sale of coffee is legalized here in the US. The mentality seems to be "It's illegal if there is no law allowing it".
  10.  
    Originally Posted by gjallen1975 View Post

    that's funny. notice they're no longer calling Pokerstars a ponzi? They left out how Pokerstars is the best in the business, settled all it's shit with the DOJ and bailed out FTP too. Everybody afraid to let pokerstars compete. How silly...but standard....


    The called FTP a Ponzi.......not Stars. But yea, yur right.
  11.  
    Originally Posted by Diver1 View Post


    2nd is the UIGEA and it does apply to poker....kinda. The UIGEA made it illegal for the banks to process gambling transactions which is why Stars and Tilt started getting creative with the payment processing.

    gambling transactions AS DEFINED BY THE WIRE ACT OF 1961, which the DOJ has said doesn'r apply to online poker.
     
  12. THERE IT IS... We will most likely never get to play on Stars in US again.... I can see how the Feds would be more inclined to reward operators that stayed out of America while it was questionably legal and further punish those that didn't! Either way it sux to be US.... I was hoping to play in the 8th Anniversary of the SundayMillion... ;/
     
  13. Well this is priceless:"Any action allowing PokerStars to be licensed would send a damaging message to the world of gaming, and to the world beyond gaming, that companies that engage in chronic lawbreaking are welcome in the licensed gaming business. That message would dramatically undermine public confidence in gaming regulation and could cripple the industry’s public image for many years."Not sure what is funnier, the above quote or the DOJ trying to convince us that all funds confiscated from processors were company funds and not player funds. Stars has given us numerous reasons to trust them. DOJ/AGA have given us numerous reasons to not trust them. The state of American politics is at an all time low.
     
  14.  
    Originally Posted by Diver1 View Post

    The UIGEA made it illegal for the banks to process gambling transactions which is why Stars and Tilt started getting creative with the payment processing.


    Not quite true, but close enough.... Said gambling had to be illegal by some existing law in order for the transactions to be illegal under the UIGEA. But after its implementation, the government bullied the banking system enough that what happened de facto was what you stated
     
  15.  
    Originally Posted by Adam View Post

    Not quite true, but close enough.... Said gambling had to be illegal by some existing law in order for the transactions to be illegal under the UIGEA. But after its implementation, the government bullied the banking system enough that what happened de facto was what you stated


    Zactly.......The reason the DOJ went after Stars, FTP and AP really had to do with things other than "gambling". Like processing payments in a creative fashion and yes, doing some things outside the law. My belief is that Stars and FTP were only wrong by not launching a legal battle with the US Gov instead of going the route they did.

    I mean I do understand why they didn't but lets look at (I think its) Antigua. They went to the UN to get a resolution based on the Free Trade Act. Stars and FTP could certainly have argued it was not against US Federal law. If I were a betting man, which I am, I would bet the cost would have been much less and the outcome much better for all......IMHO
 
Page 1 of 11

Return to Articles

Quick Navigation