Online poker titan PokerStars has inked a partnership with Atlantic City casino operator Resorts Casino Hotel to offer online gambling to New Jersey residents. Mark Scheinberg, CEO of Stars’ parent company the Rational Group, called Resorts a “fantastic partner for us and we are looking forward to launch PokerStars in the US in association with the other quality brands Resorts has brought to Atlantic City.”
Resorts chairman Morris Bailey released a statement calling Stars “another blue chip partner to complete a wonderful series of brands – Mohegan Sun, Margaritaville and now PokerStars.” Resorts, which was the first gaming joint to open in the east coast gaming hub 35 years ago last month, was acquired by the late Dennis Gomes’ DGMB Casinos outfit in 2010.
Announcement of the deal comes just two days after Stars lost a bid to block the Atlantic Club Casino-Hotel from seeking other buyers. Stars had inked a deal to buy the Atlantic Club late last year, but delays in Stars’ pursuit of a New Jersey gaming license created enough legal wiggle room for the Atlantic Club to back out of the deal and keep the $11m Stars had advanced the casino.
Questions remain as to whether Stars will pass muster with New Jersey gaming regulators. When Stars appealed the New Jersey Superior Court ruling that called time on the Atlantic Club deal, Stars had argued that Judge Raymond Batten had effectively killed the regulators’ willingness to follow through on their vetting of Stars. It will also be interesting to see if the American Gaming Association repeats its Caesars Entertainment-induced campaign to keep Stars out of New Jersey.
News of the Stars-Resorts deal follows earlier reports on Thursday detailing similar deals between UK exchange betting specialists Betfair and the Trump Plaza, and UK online gamers Gamesys and the Tropicana. Earlier this week, the Trump Taj Mahal announced a tie-up with Fertitta Interactive subsidiary Ultimate Gaming. The Borgata has a deal with Bwin.party digital entertainment, while Caesars’ four AC properties will utilize 888 Holdings’ software, and the Golden Nugget has an existing free-play deal with Bally Technologies. That leaves just the Atlantic Club and Atlantic City’s mired-in-debt ugly stepsister Revel to reveal their dance partners. Stay tuned…