Key Points of the PokerStars / DoJ Deal + What’s Next for Full Tilt

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Ok, this time it seems like there’s actually a bit of meat on the bone. Both PokerStars and the DoJ have confirmed that a deal has been reached that will settle the charges against PokerStars (the company) and allow Stars to purchase Full Tilt and repay players.

You can read the full text of the settlement here.

Useful sources for the latest on the story include: PokerFuse,, and the official 2p2 thread on the issue.

Key Points of the Stars / DOJ Deal

  • US Player funds will be distributed “through a remission process to be administered by the Department of Justice.” The $547 million number includes US player funds owed but does not include the $180 million or so owed to non-US players. It is not clear at this point whether or not US players will receive all of their funds. There is also as of yet no clear timeline for the process. The PPA has a page dedicated to updates on US player payback.
  • Non-US players will have access to their funds within roughly 100 days and that process will be administered by PokerStars. Balances of non-US players will be paid in full, and indications are that Stars will also compensate non-US players for things like FTP points.
  • The settlement “acknowledges that both PokerStars and Full Tilt are eligible to apply for a license in the U.S. to offer real money poker when states or the federal government offer such an opportunity.”
  • PokerStars is paying a total of $547 Million to the US government. This amount both settles charges against the company and allows Stars to purchase assets of Full Tilt Poker. Stars will pay the amount over the span of three years.
  • Per the agreement forcing him to step down from PokerStars, Isai Scheinberg is no longer head of PokerStars. That position is now held by his son Mark Scheinberg.
  • The deal does not impact any criminal charges (pending or future) against individuals involved in PokerStars / Full Tilt Poker (including Isai Scheinberg).

What Does the Future Hold for Full Tilt?

PokerStars says:

It’s too early to begin disclosing many details about our strategic plans for Full Tilt, but our first order of business is to re-open the site, pay back all of the players and begin rebuilding Full Tilt’s reputation. Going forward, we will operate Full Tilt as a separate brand, giving players another leading and trusted platform to enjoy the game. The re-launched Full Tilt site will bring back the innovative features, the authentic poker and the cutting-edge software that made it so popular with millions of players worldwide.

Diamondflush is reporting that non-US FTP players will get some compensation for points, but no word on anything similar for US players.

“While compensating Full Tilt’s non US players for any other assets, like FTP points, etc., over their balances is not a part of the agreement, I was told by PokerStars sources that the company plans to have fair resolution for these assets.”

The official DoJ press release has an interesting tidbit:

PokerStars is also prohibited from employing, or otherwise hiring, Full Tilt Poker insiders Raymond Bitar, Howard Lederer, Rafael Furst, Chris Ferguson, and Nelson Burtnick. Bitar and Burtnick are also named as defendants in a related criminal Indictment. Bitar, Lederer, Furst, and Ferguson are named as civil money-laundering defendants in this complaint.

Full Tilt will stay headquartered in Ireland, but will no longer operate under Alderney regulation (shocking). That aspect of FTP is moving over to the Isle of Man.

Survey of the Coverage

If you want to wade through it, Lee Jones has opened a thread on 2p2 answering questions about the deal.







- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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