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PokerStars Settles with DOJ, Acquires Full Tilt Poker
After months of speculation, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and the U.S. Department of Justice have reached an agreement that will see Full Tilt players paid back in full.
The new deal will have Full Tilt Poker voluntarily forfeit all assets to the U.S. government.
According to a press release from PokerStars, the U.S. government will then transfer all those assets to PokerStars, which will in turn pay out $547 million to the U.S. government over the next three years.
Full Tilt players from the U.S., out approximately $150 million, will have the opportunity to file a petition for remission with the DOJ Asset Forfeiture Money Laundering Service.
PokerStars will directly reimburse $184 million owed to non-U.S. customers within 90 days.
The deal will be complete upon a $225 million payment from PokerStars to the US government within six days of the entrance of today’s settlement.
As part of the deal, all civil forfeiture and money laundering charges against individuals related to PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker will be dropped.
Agreement Allows PokerStars to Pursue Real-Money Poker in U.S.
The agreement will also permit both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to offer real money online poker when State or Federal governments legalize online poker.
“We are delighted we have been able to put this matter behind us, and also secured our ability to operate in the United States of America whenever the regulations allow,” said Mark Scheinberg, Chairman of the Board of PokerStars.
PokerStars plans to re-open Full Tilt Poker within 90 days of the formal close of the deal, which will occur within the next seven days.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was central to online poker's Black Friday, also released a statement on the deal.
“We are pleased to announce these settlements by Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, which allow us to quickly get significant compensation into the victim players’ hands."
Below are more highlights from this breaking news story:
Details on PokerStars/Full Tilt Poker Deal
- PokerStars acquires Full Tilt Poker from the U.S. government for $547 million over the next three years.
- Full Tilt players in the U.S. will be paid back by the U.S. government (with funds from PokerStars).
- PokerStars will directly reimburse non-U.S. players $184 million, with no restrictions on withdrawals, within 90 days of completing this transaction.
- PokerStars (and Full Tilt Poker) will be permitted to apply to relevant U.S. gaming authorities to offer real-money online poker if/when state or federal governments introduce regulation.
- All civil forfeiture and money laundering charges against PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker will be dropped.
- PokerStars' Isai Scheinberg will be forced to step down from PokerStars management.
- In a related matter Absolute Poker/UB Poker have agreed to forfeiture in its case with the U.S. government
- PokerStars is prohibited from employing or otherwise hiring Full Tilt insiders Ray Bitar, Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Rafe Furst and Nelson Burtnick.
- There are plans to re-launch Full Tilt Poker in most markets as a separate brand, following the appointment of a "new, independent management team."
- PokerStars will relaunch Full Tilt in most markets within 90 days of deal closing with player accounts available in full for play or withdrawal.
- PokerStars will not seek a license to operate as Full Tilt Poker in France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Belgium or Estonia.
- Plan is to have functionality available to transfers funds between Full Tilt and PokerStars accounts
- PokerStars intends a fair resolution for players with accumulated points under the old Full Tilt rewards program. Details to be announced.
- The official date for determining country of residence for Full Tilt players is June 29, 2011.
- Full Tilt Poker’s headquarters will remain in Dublin but regulatory oversight will be transferred to the Isle of Man.
- Ray Bitar released a statement expressing regret over not getting the deal done sooner.