Resorts Casino Hotel, which has partnered with PokerStars, will be the only Atlantic City casino seeking an online gaming license not to receive approval from the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) prior to New Jersey's launch of Internet gambling, according to a source with direct contact to Resorts ownership.
The source indicated that the DGE is taking issue with the purported involvement of PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg, who faces ongoing federal indictment, in the company despite promises to federal authorities that he would no longer hold any management positions.
Scheinberg stepped down as director of the company as part of PokerStars' $731 million settlement with the Department of Justice, but has remained outside U.S. jurisdiction to avoid facing charges of money laundering, bank fraud and illegal gambling operations. His son, Mark Scheinberg, is the current CEO of the company.
Resorts and PokerStars will continue their efforts to gain approval by disassociating themselves from Isai Scheinberg, according to the source.
PokerStars declined to comment on this report.
At the very least, the DGE's decision will give other online poker sites a head start on PokerStars, which could be seen as a victory for the American Gaming Association and Atlantic City casinos who have opposed the participation of the world's most popular online poker website.
"They always wanted to get a leg up on PokerStars to delay their entry into the market," the source told PokerNews of Atlantic City casinos. "Apparently they've been successful in that regard."
PokerStars has pledged to spend $10 million building a poker room at Resorts Casino Hotel once the company gains approval.
The DGE is scheduled to update its list of Internet gaming permit holders and approved ancillary companies Wednesday at 3 p.m. EDT prior to the following day's soft launch of online gaming. Casinos already awarded permits are Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Golden Nugget Atlantic City, Trump Plaza, Trump Taj Majal and Tropicana Casino and Resort. That Resorts will be the only casino not receiving a permit means that Caesars and its casino properties will receive approval tomorrow.
Online gaming in New Jersey will begin with a soft launch Thursday between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m., continue Friday during those same hours, Saturday from 8 a.m. until midnight, and all day Sunday and Monday. If everything goes well, play will launch in full Tuesday, Nov. 26.