A December 2012 deal by PokerStars’ parent company Rational Group to buy an Atlantic City, New Jersey casino has been scrapped after initial terms of the deal expired on Friday, multiple sources are reporting today.
According to John Brennan, a New Jersey gambling beat reporter and author of the Meadowlands Matters blog, Michael Frawley, COO of the Atlantic Club, has confirmed the deal’s collapse. “[The] purchase agreement with PokerStars has been terminated,” Frawley told Brennan. “The Atlantic Club remains committed to the aggressive pursuit of the opportunities presented by online gambling.”
Late last year, Rational had agreed to purchase the struggling Atlantic City casino for a reported $50 million from Resorts International Holdings, contingent upon Rational being approved to operate a casino in New Jersey. The deal was expected to protect between 1,800 and 2,000 jobs at a property that is in risk of being shuttered by Resorts, which remains its owner.
The initial purchase by Rational drew unprecedented protest from the American Gaming Association, the United States’ most powerful lobbying group on behalf of many prominent American land-based casino corporations.
The AGA’s self-injection into the Rational / Atlantic Club deal drew a fierce response from Rational, whose US-based legal representatives released details of a proposed sale by Caesars Entertainment of the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Rational declined to purchase the Rio, the home of the World Series of Poker, for a reported $500 million.
With the collapse of the Atlantic Club purchase agreement, Rational and PokerStars have been blocked in their first attempt to re-enter the United States where they hoped to be a participant in New Jersey’s newly created online poker market. PokerStars spokesman Eric Hollresier declined to comment on the latest developments, citing the confidential nature of the purchase agreement’s terms.