Game On! Last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill authorizing casinos in Atlantic City to offer online poker. They are the third state to pass legislation authorizing online poker after Nevada and Delaware recently passed legislation. Going a step further than Nevada, Delware and New Jersey have allowed full casino-style online gambling.
The bill currently allows for casinos located within Atlantic City to host Internet gaming sites. At first, they will only be able to offer these sites to people who reside in New Jersey, but it allows for the eventual, and inevitable, expansion to other states.
PokerStars Eyes Atlantic City Casino
The new legislation sets the table for PokerStars.net parent company Rational Group to return the the United States. The group is currently seeking approval to buy the Atlantic Club Hotel Casino, which has been struggling and would otherwise likely be forced to close in the near future.
PokerStars left the US about two years ago when the U.S. Government sued it for operating an illegal gambling business and shut down its US facing website. The largest online poker company in the world picked up shop and moved to the Isle of Man. The new deal reportedly includes a price tag of nearly $50 million for the struggling casino, but would set up a beachhead for the company's return assualt on the lucrative US gaming market. It also fits well with the company's new strategy of acquiring land-based casinos, as it did recently in London.
It will take some time before you start seeing the new online gaming sites operate. State Sen. Ray Lesniak, who was the leading sponsor of the passed legislation, expects that it won't be ready until early this fall.