There will finally be a resolution to the ongoing drama involving Full Tilt Poker. The much maligned online poker company has come to a three-way deal that will transfer its assets to one-time rival PokerStars. The deal will also give players access to funds that have been frozen for much of the last year.
“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,” Mark Scheinberg, PokerStars Chairman said in a press release.
Full Tilt was launched in 2004 with the involvement of numerous poker professionals, including Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Phil Ivey, Andy Bloch, Mike Matusow, and Jennifer Harman. Understandably, it grew quickly. However, in 2011, the FBI seized its domain in response to money laundering and fraud charges, deeming the operation a “massive ponzi scheme.”
Enter the Isle of Man-based PokerStars, who, in agreeing to forfeit 731 million ($547 million of this will go to reimbursing Full Tilt customers in the U.S.) to the United States Department of Justice, have settled the federal charges against its former rival.
“This outcome demonstrates our continuing global leadership of the online poker industry and our commitment to working with governments and regulators to ensure the highest standards of protection for players,” Scheinberg said.
PokerStars has already appointed an independent, Dublin-based management team for Full Tilt Poker, with re-launch plans in most regulated markets. They will, however, have to be careful when attempting to enter the US market.
“Today’s settlements demonstrate that if you engage in conduct that violates the laws of the United States, as we alleged in this case, then even if you are doing so from across the ocean, you will have to answer for that conduct and turn over your ill-gotten gains,” said Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens. In the meantime, former Full Tilt Poker players can at least get access to their funds.
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