April 15, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney charged the principals of three of online poker's biggest sites with bank fraud, illegal gambling and laundering billions of dollars.
In all, 11 defendants were charged, including PokerStars' Isai Scheinberg, Fill Tilt Poker's Ray Bitar and Absolute Poker's Scott Tom.
The Internet domain names used by PokerStars, Full Tilt, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet were seized and began redirecting to a message from the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI.
But last Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney announced the office had entered into an agreement with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to release the domain names and allow U.S. players to register for refund requests directly with the sites.
In a statement of its own, PokerStars said while it has stopped offering real money poker in the United States, the agreement would soon allow it to pay out player balances to its former customers in the U.S., once a suitable payment processor was found.
Wednesday, the site said it has made arrangements with a U.S. bank and begun the process of returning player funds to U.S. customers.
"The funds to cover these withdrawal requests are readily available," the statement reads.
"All player deposits for players outside the U.S. are also completely safe and secure. PokerStars has always held all such funds in accounts that are segregated from company assets, in compliance with the strict licensing laws of the Isle of Man.
"The company continues to operate outside the U.S. under the www.pokerstars.com domain name and retains its position as the world’s number one poker site."
Full Tilt said last week there are numerous legal and jurisdictional issues that must be considered before poker winnings can be paid out to U.S. players, but it is ready to work with the United States Attorney’s Office to try and resolve these issues.