PokerStars, the largest online poker room in the world, has declined to make any comment on news reports stating that it has acquired Full Tilt Poker, but has confirmed that it is in the process of holding talks with the Department of Justice (DoJ) of the United States of America (USA).
PokerStars head (corporate communications) Eric Hollreiser said, “We’ve had a lot of enquiries and there’s lots of speculation on the forums, so I wanted to address the PokerStars chatter. As you know, PokerStars is in settlement discussions with the US Department of Justice. As such settlement discussions are always confidential, we are unable to comment on rumours. As soon as we have information to share publicly we will do so.”
Last year in April, the US federal authority had cracked down on Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and Absolute Poker and indicted key people associated with these online poker rooms on multiple charges of fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling. The online poker gaming companies were forced to withdraw their services from the US. The US authorities also filed a forfeiture complaint against the three companies.
Initially, the www.pokerstars.com domain was seized by the DoJ, but was later released so that PokerStars could continue offering its poker services outside the US and also to facilitate easy refunding of poker deposits to US poker players. PokerStars as well as the Isle of Man Gambling Commission, which is the licensing and regulatory body for PokerStars, went out of their way to assure US poker players that their funds are safe and that the company still had a license to operate and that it could operate outside the US as usual.
However, Full Tilt Poker was not that lucky. Its accounts were in a mess, and to make matters worse, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission revoked its license. The online poker room was forced to shut down its operations in the rest of the world too, and hundreds and thousands of online poker players worldwide are still waiting for their money.
Last September, the poker media was full of news about Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT), a French investment firm, willing to acquire Full Tilt Poker for $80 million, but the deal did not go through because GBT could not agree with the US authorities regarding the refunding of players.
Reportedly, PokerStars intends to acquire FTP and refund its players in a bid to solve its own problems with the DoJ.