Chris Christie Accused of Delaying PokerStars’ NJ Gaming License
That’s the accusation being made by NJ State Senator, and online gambling advocate, Ray Lesniak.
PokerStars, and its new owner Amaya Gaming, applied for a license to work with the Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel back in 2013. That application was put on hold for two years due to ongoing criminal investigations into the company’s former owners.
Lesniak says the company’s application should be moving forward now that they’re under new ownership, but that Christie’s office is holding things up. That delay, he says, is nothing more than political payback to Christie supporter, and online gambling enemy, Shel Adelson.
Though Christie’s office, in typical Christie fashion, calls the accusation, “nonsense,” other Jersey players aren’t so sure that’s the case.
In an interview with Yahoo! News, Unite Here Local 54 union boss Bob McDevitt said:
My impression was that PokerStars should have been already up and operating long before this point My understanding is that it was the attorney general’s office and the governor who are holding up the approvals.
McDevitt went on to say that the PokerStars deal would bring over 1,000 jobs to the struggling Atlantic City casino market.
The accusations against Christie don’t seem like too far a stretch given Adelson’s reputation for buying politicians and Christie’s fawning attitude towards the billionaire kingmaker. Christie recently met with Adelson in Las Vegas and is always on the lookout for rich supporters to help fund his presidential aspirations.
Lesniak is standing by his guns in the matter and is calling for an investigation into the matter.
McDevitt, for his part, is mostly confused by the matter pointing out the sad realities of life on the struggling Atlantic City Boardwalk, “PokerStars is one of the only gaming companies that has been actively committed to pursuing a position in the Atlantic City market. Everybody else is running away. So, why would we rebuff a company that wants to make a major investment in Atlantic City while everybody else is sort of backing off?”