New Jersey Undecided on PokerStars Interim Casino Application

PokerStars, which has sought an interim license from the Casino Control Commission (CCC) in New Jersey as part of its acquisition of the struggling Atlantic Club Casino and Hotel, has not yet received a license. According to the CCC office, licensing deliberations will be held in public meetings.

Meanwhile, the American Gaming Association (AGA) is quite determined that PokerStars should not get the license. It had even requested the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) to permit it to take part in the hearing. PokerStars had objected to this move on the part of the AGA, and the DGE had handed over the AGA papers to the CCC.

Most people are unaware of the separate duties of the CCC and the DGE. While the DGE can recommend the granting of licenses to gambling operators, it is only the CCC that can actually issue, suspend, and terminate casino gaming licenses. The DGE can grant online casino licenses to operators declared as qualified by the CCC. Regarding PokerStars’ application for an interim casino license, the CCC has obviously decided to wait and watch for some time, especially as the AGA and the online poker company are at loggerheads.

Meanwhile, gambling experts have different opinions regarding PokerStars’ decision to continue operating in the US even after the federal government passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006. Advocates who firmly support PokerStars’ attempt to re-enter the US market have argued that the online poker company continued in the US even after the UIGEA was passed because it had strong legal grounds to do so, although it badly miscalculated its risks. Attorneys also suggested that companies opposing PokerStars’ application for an interim casino license just want to get the competition out of their way so that they can enjoy a larger share of the US online gambling market.

Meanwhile, the air is thick with rumors that Caesars, New Jersey’s largest casino shareholder, is making plans to sell its Atlantic City Showboat. According to New Jersey regulatory bodies and Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, Atlantic City land casinos are suffering and many more casino employees are on the verge of losing their jobs. The Atlantic Club Casino and Hotel can stay afloat only if PokerStars acquires it. This could pressurize New Jersey regulators into granting PokerStars the interim casino license it has applied for in spite of the AGA’s opposition.

Ultimately, it is up to the CCC to decide if PokerStars should be granted an interim casino license or not. Having taken a number of factors into consideration, experts have predicted that PokerStars will finally be granted the interim casino license it seeks although the CCC might take a long time to decide.

Right now, PokerStars is focusing on its strengths and not on the criticism leveled against it. The online poker company is currently putting in efforts to develop strong business relationships with Indian casino companies, commercial casinos, and others, all in a bid to popularize the PokerStars brand all over the US.

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