PokerStars, the largest provider of online poker services in the world, announced that it has begun the laborious process of refunding million of dollars deposited by its US poker customers while its chief executives have been indicted of a wide range of criminal activities including unlawful online gambling, money laundering, and bank fraud.
In an official release issued Wednesday, PokerStars stated that it has arranged with a bank to refund deposits as quickly as possible in honor of its agreement with the US federal government. PokerStars, which has been licensed by the Isle of Man, assures its US poker customers that their money is safe and will be returned to them at the earliest. Meanwhile, funds deposited by US poker players have been kept in different accounts.
Following the US federal government crackdown and the subsequent seizure of its domain name and the indictment of 11 PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker executives, PokerStars withdrew its services from the US market. The online poker room claims that it will defend itself.
Recently, the US online poker community was relieved to hear that Full Tilt Poker, another online poker domain name that was seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), had discussed issues with Preet Bharara, the US attorney for the southern district of New York, and had come to a consensus regarding the refunding of player deposits.
PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker requested back their domain names because they were essential to refund player deposits. They also agreed that they would leave the US market and stop offering real money poker products to US customers. Absolute Poker, however, refused to sign any agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ), which means bad news for real money poker players within the Cereus Poker Network. Currently, Absolute Poker is not taking any more US poker players. While it permits existing players to continue playing ring poker games, it has also blocked all withdrawals and deposits temporarily. Absolute Poker has assured its poker customers that it is taking legal advice at present.
Full Tilt Poker had made an official statement to the effect that it cannot find any authorized payment option through which it can issue refunds. Moreover, Full Tilt Poker states that the government has not permitted the return of seized funds to the players. Full Tilt Poker has promised that it is willing to cooperate with the DOJ to resolve all these issues.