The parent of Pokerstars, the Isle of Man-based Rational Group, has spoken out against the owners of the Atlantic Club, which earlier this (December) month was sold on auction after going bust, and is to be stripped down and the assets distributed by new owners Caesars Entertainment and Tropicana Entertainment .
Quoting from an end-of-the-year Pokerstars blog, the Associated Press news agency reports that the Rational Group blames the owners of The Atlantic Club for its impending shutdown on January 13.
“It's always sad when hard-working people lose their jobs, especially during the holiday season,” the company wrote. “This is particularly sad, though, because it simply didn't have to happen.
“At this time last year, PokerStars reached an agreement that would secure a new future for the casino, save the jobs of 1,800 employees and inject new blood, new technology and new finances into the Atlantic City casino economy.”
Even though New Jersey had not yet approved Internet gambling, the Rational Group began advancing The Atlantic Club money to get it through the winter and the lean months after Superstorm Sandy; eventually it sent the casino $11 million of the $15 million purchase price.
“As spring approached, the economic prospects for the Atlantic Club appeared to brighten even more with the newly-enacted i-gaming legislation and the promise of summer tourism business on the horizon,” the company blog continues.
“That's when the casino's then-owners gambled with their employees' future. In hopes that the improved economic picture could lead to more rewards for them, they walked away from our contract rather than wait another few months for the regulatory approval process to be completed.
“Now, the Atlantic Club will be stripped for parts and its employees will be put out onto the Boardwalk in search of new jobs in 2014. PokerStars does not share the vulture-like management practices that led to the coming job losses and disappointment of thousands of people in New Jersey with the closure of the Atlantic Club.”
The blog also confirms that Pokerstars is intent on entering the US online gambling market, and is looking to offer online gambling in other states as they regulate, along with its continued pursuit of licensing in New Jersey, where regulators have suspended PokerStars' application for an Internet gambling licence for two years, citing an unresolved indictment against the company's founder, Isai Scheinberg.
“We're active in many states that are considering online poker and/or online gaming regulations and are discussing opportunities as they arise and as legislation progresses,” Rational Group communications director Eric Hollreiser said Tuesday.
He added that the company's partnership with Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City remains intact despite the application suspension.
Approached by AP for comment, Atlantic Club chief operating officer Michael Frawley declined to comment.