US Attorney for New York Southern District Preet Bharara today announced that the US has reached settlement agreements with Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars and that these agreements have been approved by Leonard B. Sand, US district judge.
According to the settlement agreement with Full Tilt Poker, the company has to give up all its assets to the US government. According to the settlement agreement with PokerStars, the company has to give $547 million to the US government and repay $184 million that Full Tilt Poker owes to plays outside the US. In exchange for the above, the US government will drop its cases against the two companies. Once PokerStars satisfies the requirements, it can acquire Full Tilt Poker’s assets from the US government. This settlement agreement makes sure that ex Full Tilt Poker players will get back their money from the $547 million paid by PokerStars to the US government.
Mr. Bharara said, “We are pleased to announce these settlements by Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, which allow us to quickly get significant compensation into the victim players’ hands. 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.”
As per the settlement agreement with Full Tilt Poker, the online poker company’s US players can claim compensation from the US Department of Justice (DoJ), which will refund players from the $547 million that will be paid by PokerStars, which is also required to pay back the $184 million that Full Tilt Poker owes its former players from different parts of the world within 90 days. PokerStars can then acquire Full Tilt Poker’s assets from the US government by paying a further amount of $225 million within six days of the settlement agreement.
According to the other terms of the agreement, Isai Scheinberg, who is one of those indicted by the US government, has to stop serving at PokerStars within 45 days of PokerStars’ acquisition of Full Tilt Poker. The agreement also prevents PokerStars from hiring or employing Howard Lederer, Raymond Bitar, Chris Ferguson, Rafael Furst, and Nelson Burtnick. The terms also prohibit the online poker giant from offering real money poker services in the US until and unless the US federal government legalizes and regulates online poker.