Atlantic City seems to be forever trying to turn a corner. First it was casino bankruptcies, then it was labor squabbles, then it was competition from Pennsylvania. Then along came plans for the Revel Casino - a beacon of light in the darkness, which as met with labor problems, money issues that could lead to bankruptcy, continued expansion of casinos in Pennsylvania, and then a Super-storm called Sandy. Slam, bam, help us, man!
Well, it wasn't what the town was expecting, but perhaps the addition of a company with plenty of cash and big plans can help this whale-sized, nearly beached carcass of a problem. PokerStars, the world's largest online poker room with 50 million registered players, has expressed interest in the struggling Atlantic Club casino. If the online giant can obtain a favorable licensing review, they can easily swing the $45 million price tag for the Atlantic City landmark club.
Of course this is just a precursor to getting online gaming (at least poker) legalized in the US, but PokerStars is also the owner of the European Poker Tour, and just announced plans to PokerStars confirmed last week's report that it was partnering with the Casino Gran Madrid to build a PokerStars-branded poker room in the popular casino.
According to PokerStars, the room will have at least 20 tables and will specialize in hosting tournaments. I've been involved with several PokerStars tournaments and I can say they certainly know what they are doing. And, since opening their online poker room, they have conducted 590 million tournaments. Sure, hosting online tournaments is different than hosting the WSOP, and if there were no live poker games we would never have had legends like Johnny Moss and Stu Ungar, but think of that number - 590 million. If nothing else, they can certainly put some needed cash into Atlantic City and bring new faces to the town.
I think their addition to the US gaming market could be fantastic. Imagine the fun of playing in huge poker tournaments on both coasts of the US! And maybe qualifying for those tournaments online, at US-legal poker tables from across the internet. AHHHH.