PokerStars Makes Settlement; Set to Take Over Full Tilt PokerAugust 9, 2012
PokerStars, one of the leading online poker operators, has made a settlement with US authorities on an extensive fraud complaint. In addition, federal authorities have allowed the PokerStars to take over its rival, Full Tilt Poker, provided it pays off the money that the latter owes to its customers.
In April last year, US federal authorities seized some of the leading online poker operators in the US such as PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker on charges of fraud. The day has been known as Black Friday as it was one of the darkest days in the history of online gambling in theUS. It was revealed that customers’ money was being transferred to offshore accounts by competent accountants hired by the poker companies.
Massive Settlement of $700 Million by PokerStars
Ever since the events of Black Friday, the online poker arena has been in shambles. Customers raised a ruckus over when exactly they would get their money back. For some time, it was not known whether it would even be possible to return this money as there were no signs of the matter getting cleared up in the near future.
However, news came in of PokerStars willing to make a settlement on behalf of Full Tilt Poker on the conditions that it would be exempted form all charges and be allowed to acquire Full Tilt Poker. Now, US authorities have sanctioned their approval which PokerStars will have to honor.
The online poker company is set to pay almost $735 million as a settlement. Sources say that almost $550 million of that amount will have to be utilized to reimburse the customers of Full Tilt Poker. Furthermore, US federal authorities have declared that Full Tilt Poker can no longer function as an independent organization. PokerStars has been given the nod to acquire Full Tilt Poker.
PokerStars May Commence Operations in the US
With this news of settlement, several questions have yet to be answered. Industry experts were not hopeful that this deal would come about between UA federal authorities and PokerStars, especially because it included full exemption of the fraud charges. The other factor that had all the experts convinced was that the poker operator would never be allowed to commence operations in the US again.
However, with this announcement, it seems as if it could be a likely scenario. In 2006, Congress plainly stated that online gambling on real money card games was prohibited and considered illegal. While other poker operators quietly withdrew from the market, it was Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars which stayed on. Eventually, the two companies created a monopoly of sorts in the online poker arena in the US.
Full Tilt was recognized as a formidable organization as it hosted several poker tournaments which received television rights. After Black Friday, a global Ponzi scheme came to light when it was discovered that the company had used fake codes of billing to swindle US banks of the true nature of the transactions. The owners, including the CEO of Full Tilt Poker, Raymond Bitar, who was released on bail recently, pocketed several millions that were rightfully owed to the customers of the site.