DOJ Finalized a Settlement with Online Poker Industry Leader
Posted by AJ Grey on 10.04.2012
At the end of July, the United States Department of Justice and PokerStars reached a deal that would settle the charges brought against them in April 2011 Black Friday indictments.
At the end of July, the United States Department of Justice and PokerStars reached a deal that would settle the charges brought against them in April 2011 Black Friday indictments. As part of that deal, PokerStars was able to negotiate a deal with the DOJ that would allow them to purchase Full Tilt Poker and subsequently repay former Full Tilt players from around the world.
The deal essentially saw PokerStars pay the DOJ a sum of $547 Million to settle their charges and acquire Full Tilt Poker. A total of $184 Million of those funds will be used by the DOJ in order to repay US players their former Full Tilt Poker account balances.
When the deal was announced back in July, the word at the time was that PokerStars would reopen Full Tilt sometime in November. PokerStars confirmed that on September 24th when they announced that Full Tilt would reopen in the first week of November. Full Tilt's November relaunch will also coincide with the repayment of all non-US online poker players.
PokerStars also revealed the procedures for repaying players outside of the US on September 24th. Players residing in France, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, and Estonia will essentially have two accounts accessible to them within their PokerStars client. One will be their normal PokerStars account and the other will be their Full Tilt Poker balance. They can then choose whether to withdraw those funds or use them as part of their PokerStars balance.
Players in Italy will actually have to wait for the specific procedure as PokerStars is still working with regulatory authorities as to the specific method of transfer. However, this process is expected to be announced very shortly. For everyone else outside of the United States, player funds will be accessible via FullTiltPoker.com once the site re-launches in November.
For those players residing in the United States, do not worry. US Full Tilt players will get their money back, but they will have to go through the DOJ to get it. At present, the DOJ is hiring payment processors to facilitate repayment requests. Once that is completed, the DOJ will announce the procedure that US players will have to go through to get their money back.
Make no mistake. The US repayment process will be done through the Department of Justice and not through either PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker. Those with funds on the site should consult a tax accountant to see what the impact of these fund will have on your taxes.
The good news in all this is that the Black Friday saga is coming to a close for two of the three major online poker sites indicted last year. Hopefully laws will change in the United States in the near future that will prevent such a disaster as this from happening in the future.