The Atlantic Club may soon be the first land based Casino to be owned by an online casino venture group in Atlantic City. The Rational Group, owners of the very popular Pokerstars.com website and Full Tilt Poker have submitted an application for approval of purchase of the club, to Gaming Enforcement at its New Jersey Division. The Gaming Division has issued a statement confirming the application for the Interim Casino Authorisation. In addition to this approval, a report suggests that the Casino Control Commission in New Jersey will also have to award approval for the deal to go through.
The Atlantic Club was previously known as the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort. It was bought by its current owners in 2005 for USD1.24 Billion along with three other casinos. But Resorts International Holdings, the subsidiary of Colony Capital LLC and current owners of The Atlantic Club, have been struggling to generate profits over the last year with revenue going down to USD127.2 million the year before and the casino making an operational loss of USD13.6 Million in the first three quarters of the year 2012. The Hippodrome Casino in London is also partly owned by the group who intend to open a game room in 2013 there under the PokerStars brand.
If the purchase is completed, the U.S Subsidiary of The Rational Group would provide funding for the club. The club could also see a rise in stature as it could become a hub of sorts for PokerStars’ live events provided the law that authorises online gambling in the State is passed. New Jerseys’ law makers have already approved the bill which has yet to pass the Governor for approval. This purchase would help in reviving the sagging fortunes of Atlantic City and its workforce which has been on the downturn in recent years. The current price of the club and what the buyers are considering paying has not been announced and is still kept under wraps. However, the current price is expected to be significantly lower that its original 2005 price, possibly going down to as low as USD 50 Million as suggested by market speculation in 2012.
In other news at PokerStars, they also have a new boss in Israeli Ravi Askenazi. He is joining as the Chief Operating Officer of the Rational Group and will take over the day to day operations of PokerStars as well as Full Tilt Poker.