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American Gaming Association Files Petition to Block Poker Stars

The American Gaming Association has filed a petition asking New Jersey gaming regulators to prevent PokerStars acquisition of the famed Atlantic Club.

The 28-page petition outlines the unlawful history of PokerStars operation in the United States and argues that the operator’s past has shown its inability to meet the standards of US law. The petition cited the “federal criminal prosecution for bank fraud, money laundering, and gambling offenses” as proof of PokerStars’ unlawful operations. The petition concludes that PokerStars’ entrance into the US gaming market would send a damaging message to the gaming industry.

PokerStars representatives have countered the petition by stating that the regulators should determine the eligibility of gaming operators. Furthermore, the operator has argued that the company is reputable and has good standing with governments across the world.

In July 2012, the operator reached a $731 million settlement with the Department of Justice over the Black Friday indictments. PokerStars was able to settle its case without admitting any wrongdoing. The online poker site has remained the largest and most reputable site in the world after the Black Friday indictments. It continues to expand globally and has started a trend of purchasing brick and mortar establishments. Recently, the operator has purchased casinos in Spain and Macau.

PokerStars is currently in the process of purchasing the famed Atlantic Club that was started by gaming mogul Steve Wynn. The operator hopes that the acquisition would allow it to reenter the slowly developing US market. The acquisition would save the struggling casino and potentially save nearly 2,000 jobs. Legislators and regulators will have to determine if the benefits of a PokerStars casino would outweigh the previous indiscretions.

The PokerStars acquisition has come under fire recently in light of the “bad actor” debate. The New Jersey legislators originally placed the “bad actor” clause in the bill, but removed it from the final draft that was signed by Governor Chris Christie in February. Nevada has decided to maintain the “bad actor” clause that prevents PokerStars or Full Tilt from entering the market for 5 years.

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