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Rational Group US Holdings to buy Atlantic City Casino

Written By: Kate | January 17, 2013 | Posted In Poker News

The company behind online poker giant PokerStars is ready to feature a land-based venue to its profile after announcing that it is trying to get the approval to acquire the Atlantic Club Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City for an undisclosed amount.

Rational Group US Holdings, which also operates FullTilt Poker, has submitted an application with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for preliminary approval to buy the American bricks-and-mortar casino after hitting an agreement late last month with current owner Resorts International Holdings, which is an affiliate of Los Angeles-based hedge fund Colony Capital LLC.

As reported by iGamingBusiness.com in December, the move by Rational Group US is likely to be seen as a way for the operator to gain a foothold in any future New Jersey intra-state online poker market as future licensees are likely to be required to have a land-based presence.

A statement from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement read “The [New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement] can confirm that an application requesting interim casino authorisation and other relief was received from Rational Group US,”

According to a report from the Associated Press, if approved by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement , Isle of Man-based Rational Group US will then need to see the deal past the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in order to become the first online operator to own an Atlantic City gambling venue.

A statement from Rational Group US read “Rational Group US is a willing and enthusiastic prospective purchaser and it intends to improve the financial viability of the property and therefore the offerings available in Atlantic City,”

“The purchase will improve the overall economic and competitive conditions of Atlantic City and the state of New Jersey as the current owner of the company has, for a considerable period of time, been marketing the property for sale.”

Resorts International Holdings has possessed the Atlantic Club Casino and Hotel since 2005 and the property presently ranks tenth out of Atlantic City’s twelve gambling venues when it comes to income. The venue has battled terribly because of increased competition from casinos in nearby states and saw its yearly take from gamblers reduce by eleven percent year-on-year to $127.2 million in 2011 while publishing a gross operating loss of $13.6 million for the first 9 months of 2012.

A joint statement from Eric Hollreiser from Rational Group US and Michael Frawley, Chief Operating Officer for the Atlantic Club Casino and Hotel read “The acquisition of The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel will secure up to 2,000 jobs and maintain the economic benefits the casino brings to New Jersey,”

“During this interim period, the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel will operate as normal under current management, which will be retained following completion of the acquisition.”

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