The US Department of Justice has brokered a deal with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Under the settlement, PokerStars, based in the Isle of Man, will take over the assets of Full Tilt Poker and forfeit $731 million, enabling it to enter the US gaming market if it is legalised.
The two sites, once the mainstay of online gaming in the US, were indicted last year along with Absolute Poker for money laundering, in what became known as Black Friday.
Under the settlement, PokerStars will pay out $547 million over three years, while the remaining $184 million will be used to reimburse all outstanding funds to players outside of the US. Although neither company admitted to any fault, the chairperson of PokerStars, Mark Scheinberg said that his company was “delighted” to see the case settled.
However, the criminal charges brought against the owners and various employees of the gaming sites concerned will still go ahead. Eleven owners and employees have been indicted since Black Friday, all accused of conning financial regulators and banks into processing illegal internet gambling proceeds, running into billions of dollars.
It was also announced that a settlement had been reached with Absolute Poker. The site will have to hand over its assets to the US Government, although this has yet to be agreed to by US District Judge, Leonard Sand, in Manhattan, who presided over the civil cases brought against the three internet gaming sites.
The deal over these civil settlements follows on the heels of Delaware becoming the second state to offer legalized online poker within the state borders.
Intensive lobbying by the gaming industry has offered much encouragement to cash starved states, particularly after the US Department of Justice declared the Wire Act unenforceable.