Poker players who had accounts on Full Tilt Poker and could not access their poker funds following the US federal crackdown of April 15, 2011 are finally relieved that they will get back their money as part of a settlement deal between the US government and Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars.
On July 31, Monday, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that it has finalized a deal, according to the terms of which PokerStars will acquire the Full Tilt Poker brand and its assets for a sum of $731 million. PokerStars will pay $547 million to the US government in installments and the US government will use these funds to reimburse Full Tilt Poker’s US players. Besides, PokerStars will pay $184 million, which Full Tilt Poker owes its international poker players. The DoJ has given PokerStars a deadline of 90 days within which it has to repay Full Tilt Poker’s international poker players.
According to the other terms of the settlement deal, PokerStars cannot give any management role to Isai Scheinberg, founder of PokerStars, or hire Raymond Bitar, Rafael Furst, Howard Lederer, Nelson Burtnik, and Chris Ferguson. PokerStars is also not permitted to enter the US online poker market although it is free to apply for licenses for both PokerStars as well as Full Tilt Poker brands to offer online poker services as soon as the US federal government or individual US states legalize and regulate online poker.
According to a DoJ press release, “Full Tilt Poker owed approximately $390 million to players around the world, including approximately $160 million to players in the United States. At that time, Full Tilt Poker had only approximately $60 million on deposit in its bank accounts.”
This settlement deal has put PokerStars in a very lucrative position. After acquiring and re-launching its one-time rival Full Tilt Poker in the European market, PokerStars is believed to create stiff competition for existing online poker companies such as Bwin.party. Analysts believe that PokerStars might also emerge as an online poker monopoly in the days to come.
Besides, PokerStars is now in a position to grab its share of the US online poker market as soon as the US federal government or individual states legalize and regulate the industry. PokerStars is also considered as a savior as it will give back the money that Full Tilt Poker players were waiting for, for the past 15 months.