The proposed deal will be scrutinized closely. State lawmakers have passed a bill that would authorize Internet gambling, but Republican Gov. Chris Christie hasn't acted on it.
Last year, PokerStars paid $547 million to settle money laundering charges from a U.S. government crackdown on illegal Internet gambling. It admitted no wrongdoing and is allowed to operate in states where online gambling is legal.
Rational is seeking from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement interim casino authorization, which is preliminary approval to move forward with the purchase. It would then need approval from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission to complete the purchase.
On its website, Rational describes PokerStars as the world's largest online poker site, with more than 50 million registered members. Since December 2001, the company says, more than 85 billion hands have been played on its site.
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC