Friday March 22,2013 : THE RATIONAL GROUP HAS BIG PLANS FOR NEW JERSEY, SAYS ATLANTIC CLUB EXEC
Pokerstars parent could be interested in other New Jersey gambling properties hints chief operating officer
In an interview on the public service broadcaster NJTVonline this week, the chief operating officer of New Jersey's Atlantic Club land casino, Michael Frawley, talked about the application by Pokerstars parent The Rational Group to buy the troubled Atlantic City operation, giving an insight into the considerable investment that the Isle of Man online poker group was ready to make, and hinting that it may be interested in further buys.
And he suggested that in trying to intervene in the deal, Caesars Entertainment via the American Gaming Association may have an “agenda”, and urged the authorities to take a look “at what ulterior motive could be behind it.”
Frawley explained to NJTV managing editor Mike Schneider that the Rational Group was ready to invest but first needed an approval on its application to the New Jersey regulators, a process that Frawley appeared to feel was moving along satisfactorily.
Once the formalities were out of the way, Frawley said he expected that the transformation of Atlantic Club would begin…and it would be an exercise in quality.
"The one thing that they've [Rational Group] been great about is the plans that they’re going to make to make the property representative of their brand,” he said, adding that without the introduction of New Jersey's online gambling laws and the deal these made possible with the Rational Group, the Atlantic Club would have faced an unprofitable future.
“With PokerStars and Internet gaming, and the capital investment they’re prepared to make in the property, we expect to be more than profitable,” Frawley said, adding that PokerStars is ready to make a $20 million investment in the first year alone.
Frawley calculated that over the next five years, the investment will total over $40 million on just Atlantic Club, and he hinted:
“I know that there are plans to invest in other places in the state. We are also going to have to build a data center, which is a very significant property investment.”
Frawley stressed that in the online gambling activities that the Atlantic Club would seek to host, measures will be in place to restrict underage or problem gamblers by creating an exclusion list. He added that PokerStars is prepared to contribute a significant sum to a fund to address problem gamers.
“I think there needs to be a little bit more education on it [internet poker] in a lot of ways before people make a snap judgment,” said Frawley.
In a separate interview on the program, lobbyist Bill Pascrell III said he found the timeline of Caesars’ actions and the progress of the Internet gaming law to be more than coincidental.
“Isn’t it ironic that on Feb. 8 of this year while the bill was sitting on the governor’s desk, Caesars approached the PokerStars headquarters and asked them to buy the Rio for $400 million … because they knew that they control Nevada, [but] they don’t control New Jersey,” said Pascrell.
View the interview here: http://www.njtvonline.org/njtoday/video/atlantic-club-coo-anticipates-bright-future-with-pokerstars/