Resorts & PokerStars Online NJ Casino Overview
Resorts Casino Hotel, Atlantic City’s oldest and least profitable casino, is probably not the first name gamblers associated with their next casino adventure. But thanks to a slew of renovations and an alignment with one of the most prominent names in online gambling, the rejuvenated relic is positioning itself to become a player in New Jersey’s online gambling market.
Resorts Casino’s approach to online gambling
There was little mention of Resorts Casino’s online gambling plans until early July. Then, in what can only be described as a stunning turn of events, it was announced that the fledgling casino would be partnering up with the most recognizable brand in online poker, PokerStars and its parent company the Rational Group.
The partnership between Resorts and PokerStars proved highly circumstantial. Originally, the online poker giant was positioned to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino for the paltry sum of $15 million. It would then use the Club as a launching point for its New Jersey online gambling operations.
Ironically, the Atlantic Club Casino would be the one to ultimately pull out of the proposed agreement, citing that the Rational Group failed to meet a preliminary approval deadline set forth by New Jersey regulators. The Club Casino is currently engaged in a legal battle with the Rational Group, claiming that it is entitled to keep the $11 million fronted to it by PokerStars and was permitted to back out of the sale since PokerStars did not adhere to its end of the bargain.
In the market for a new partner, the Rational Group teamed up with Resorts. Since that time, Resorts’ has taken a strong approach to New Jersey’s soon to be regulated Internet gaming market. Wasting little time, in early October 2013 PokerStars revealed plans to build a $10 million dollar poker room as part of its partnership with Resorts, effectively tying the casino’s brick and mortar locale to its online counterpart. PokerStars has also indicated that it would launch a viral marketing campaign to drive traffic to both the physical and virtual locations.
The Resorts online poker room and casino will likely not be one of the first to enter the NJ market, but if and when it does, it should have little trouble making up the ground it lost by not launching on the November 26, 2013 go-live date.
Before the Resorts online poker room and casino is opened, PokerStars must obtain a license from NJ regulators. Given PokerStars previous troubles on US grounds, this may prove difficult.
Resorts Casino’s live poker room
Resorts Casino has not had a live poker room since 2010. Due to failing revenues and a general lack of interest, the decision was made to no longer spread poker games. This decision will likely be reversed if PokerStars is accepted as Resorts Casino’s partner.
Resorts Casino’s role in the Atlantic City market
Resorts Casino has suffered from severe revenue drop-offs since 2006, a trend that has been partially bucked by the addition of a $35 million Margaritaville expansion in 2013 and its recent rebranding as a Roaring Twenties style casino.
Even with the new additions, Resorts’ impact in Atlantic City’s post-online gambling market will be minimal if one of several things doesn’t happen. Namely, both the casino and the Rational Group would have to be permitted by NJ regulators to run iGaming operations.
Although PokerStars agreed to pay $731 million to the U.S Department of Justice to settle a lawsuit accusing the site of conducting illicit gambling and money handling activities, there are some who cannot forgive PokerStars for remaining in the US for five years after it was found in violation of the UIGEA. Being directly linked to the events of Black Friday will ultimately diminish PokerStars’ ability to regain a foothold in US markets.
All bets are off in regards to the future of Resorts Casino’s online poker site, but if PokerStars is permitted to carry out its plan to host the casino’s online gambling operations, and follows through on a cross-promotional plan with the live poker room it plans to build within its facilities, Resorts Casino’s online poker room and casino could very well achieve an unparalleled level of dominance in Atlantic City markets.