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PokerStars Appeals Atlantic Club Ruling

PokerStars is not letting its bid to purchase the struggling Atlantic Club casino go down without a fight. The online poker giant’s parent company, Rational Group, is appealing the New Jersey Superior Court ruling that killed the transaction just weeks ago.

Rational’s appeal is heavy on the legalese but is mostly centered on the state’s mandatory 120-day review period for casino purchases.

The original contract between Rational and the Atlantic Club stated the deal could be voided if Rational didn’t get the thumbs up from gaming regulators before April 26. In the appeal, company lawyers are saying that they should have had 120 days from the date they were approved, not the date of the sale.

Also in dispute is the use of retired judges to render opinions on the arcane details of Garden State contract law. Rational claims that the use of retired Judge Steven Perskie in the case wasn’t legal.

(For a seriously in-depth look at all the issues surrounding the appeal, check out the Meadowland Matters Blog by John Brennan.)

It’s highly unlikely that any of these issues would have come up had the American Gaming Association (AGA) not filed their own motion to stop the deal last month. The AGA’s influence is clearly a factor pushing Atlantic Club owners away from the deal.

Rational Group has plenty of reasons to stay in the fight – not the least of which is the millions of dollars they’ve already sunk into keep the struggling Atlantic Club afloat while the deal took shape. New Jersey is emerging as a serious player in the US online gambling market and Rational is desperate to get in on the action.

Clearly the battle over PokerStars’ role in the US market is far from over.

What do you think of this latest twist in the PokerStars history?