Tuesday March 5, 2013 : A.G.A. IN PROTECTIVE MODE OVER ATLANTIC CLUB ACQUISITION BY POKERSTARS (Update)
Land casino trade association confirms opposition to Atlantic City land casino deal
The American Gaming Association, which counts most of the major Las Vegas land casino operators among its members, has made an unprecedented move in filing its opposition to the proposed acquisition of Atlantic City casino Atlantic Club by Rational Group, the parent company of online poker giant Pokerstars.
The Association has never before sought to influence a licensing procedure, and cited prior legal issues involving Pokerstars in the US market, many settled in a multi-million dollar agreement with the Department of Justice last year .
AGA spokesperson, Holly Wetzel, confirmed the Association's opposition, saying that it had filed a petition with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and Casino Control Commission.
Rational Group communications chief Eric Hollreiser immediately fired back, saying: “These are matters for expert regulators to determine, not self-interested partisans picking a public fight. We will continue to work positively with regulators in New Jersey and elsewhere whenever they review our qualifications.”
The AGA petition received wide coverage in the American media late Monday, with a number of commentators opining that the AGA move was either an attempt to shield its members from competition in the land gambling sector, or was motivated by fears of competition in the legalised online gambling sector, where momentum has been growing this year in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey.
Hollreiser pointed out that his company holds licenses in France, Germany and other countries and was allowed to purchase the assets of its largest competitor – Full Tilt Poker – in a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice last year.