The American Gaming Association say no to PokerStars
Just a week after Gov Chris Christie legalized Online Poker in New Jersey, poker is back in the news again. The American Gaming Association have made their thoughts clear regarding the purchase of the Atlantic Club Casino by PokerStars and have indeed filed a brief with the New Jersey Div of Gaming Enforcement and the Casino Control Commission. This could get quite nasty as lawyers from the AGA stated that Stars "operated as a criminal enterprise for many years" and that the "alleged use of deceit, trickery and other illegal tactics" whilst doing business in the United States. The brief actually stated that, "The integrity of the gaming industry would be gravely compromised by any regulatory approvals of PokerStars, a business built on deceit, chicanery and the systematic flouting of U.S. law." and that , "New Jersey's law and regulatory tradition mandate denial of this petition." PokerStars have however fought back and Head of Corporate Communication for the Rational Group that owns Stars Eric Hollreiser is not taking this sitting down. He came back with, "These are matters for expert regulators to determine, not self-interested partisans picking a public fight, the U.S. Department of Justice has said PokerStars is suitable to apply for a license in the U.S. and saw fit to give us the assets of our largest competitor and entrust us to compensate their customers outside of the U.S. We will continue to work with authorities, including the NJ regulators and other interested state regulators, to discuss our qualifications and allow them to comment on what they find." He is of course talking about the buying out of Tilt and paying their debts. It would be hard for the AGA lawyers to use anything regarding the Tilt deal against Stars as the whole thing was OK'd by the US Attorney's Office and by paying back $547 Million to the US Government they effectively cleared their name in the US and it was also agreed that should the time come, then Stars could offer real money online poker in the US when proper legislation was in place. Many observers are seeing this as nothing but greed by the AGA and an attempt to halt progress by using foreign investment. This may or may not put the deal on ice for a while and while the Rational Group and the AGA may have a public fight over it....it's not their decision to make.