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APNewsBreak: PokerStars still wants to buy casino

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 2, 2013 at 7:32 pm •  Published: May 2, 2013

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The British parent company of the PokerStars website says it still wants to buy an Atlantic City casino, even though a deal to obtain it fell through on Wednesday.

The Rational Group said Thursday night it wants to try to save its deal to purchase The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel. The casino said Wednesday the purchase deal was dead, but declined to say why.

Eric Hollreiser, a spokesman for the Isle Of Man-based company, said it had expected the closing deadline for the sale to be extended.

"Several days ago the Rational Group received a purported notice of termination of this agreement from the current owners of the Atlantic Club," he said in a statement. "It was the Rational Group's expectation and understanding, based on the ongoing dealings between the parties, that the closing date would be extended to allow the transaction to be completed. The Rational Group remains entirely committed to resolving this situation and to our investment in New Jersey."

Michael Frawley, the chief operating officer for The Atlantic Club, did not respond to messages seeking comment Thursday night.

The casino is owned by Los Angeles-based Colony Capital, which reached a deal with The Rational Group last December to sell The Atlantic Club.

The transaction was seen as mutually beneficial because the casino has struggled for years near the bottom of Atlantic City's 12 casinos in terms of revenue and profitability. And the deal would give PokerStars a much-sought-after ramp to the lucrative online gambling market expected to develop in New Jersey, one of three states that has legalized Internet gambling, along with Nevada and Delaware.

Ultimate Gaming, a company affiliated with Las Vegas' Station Casinos, started taking online bets this week. New Jersey and Delaware plan to start their online operations later this year. Unlike Nevada, which only offers poker, they will offer all types of casino table and slots games online.

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