Hunter Walker of Business Insider has a fascinating story today on reports that Gov. Chris Christie may have interfered with a deal to bring a major online gambling company to New Jersey, to benefit right wing gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson: Christie Accused of Blocking Casino Deal for Adelson.
The company in question is PokerStars, which runs one of the world’s most popular online poker sites. In July 2013, PokerStars announced a partnership with Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel. PokerStars planned to open a $10 million poker room at the casino. This would have allowed PokerStars to build its brand with live poker tournaments and other events. However, the company has been unable to obtain a gaming license in New Jersey. State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, a Democrat who sponsored the bill that legalized online gambling in the state, blamed the company’s inability to get licensed on Christie.
“Christie put a stop to it,” said Lesniak. “With a high degree of confidence it’s apparent that’s exactly what has happened.”
Bob McDevitt, the president of Unite Here Local 54, the union that represents Atlantic City’s casino workers, told Business Insider he believes the PokerStars license is being tied up by Christie.
“My impression was that PokerStars should have been already up and operating long before this point,” McDevitt said. “My understanding is that it was the attorney general’s office and the governor who are holding up the approvals.”
The office of New Jersey Attorney General John Jay Hoffman did not respond to a request for comment on this story.