Online Poker Report

PokerStars CEO Reaches $50mm Deal With DoJ

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PokerStars CEO Mark Scheinberg has reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice over Scheinberg’s alleged financial connection to online poker’s Black Friday.

Full text of the settlement here. The deal will see Scheinberg hand over $50mm.

In exchange:

Upon the entry of the Final Order of Forfeiture with respect to the Forfeited Funds, the United States shall fully and finally release (i) the PokerStars Distributions and any property traceable to or derived from the PokerStars Distributions; and (ii) Mark Scheinberg; from any and all civil claims of any kind or description (in rem, in personam or otherwise), based on the allegations of the complaint and/ or the activities of the PokerStars Companies in providing online gaming as alleged in the complaint.

The above makes it sound as if the DoJ is holding some funds or property related to PokerStars that will be released once the settlement is executed. But I am not aware of what amounts or properties – if any – are involved.

Scheinberg admits no wrongdoing in connection with the settlement. Mark Scheinberg has never been criminally or civilly charged by the U.S. Government.

Mark Scheinberg assumed leadership at PokerStars following a 2012 deal between the DoJ and PokerStars that forced former head Isai Scheinberg – Mark’s father – to step down.

The settlement between Mark Scheinberg and the DoJ is not directly connected with PokerStars’ earlier settlement with the DoJ and does not impact the amount PokerStars is required to pay to the DoJ.

Impact of the settlement

John Brennan is speculating that the settlement could potentially improve PokerStars’ chances of breaking into the New Jersey online gambling market:

Recall that the PokerStars application to buy The Atlantic Club last year included Mark Scheinberg’s name on the list of key players in the sale. That had some wondering if it would be difficult for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and the Casino Control Commission to sign off on the deal.

I agree that the settlement certainly can’t be viewed as anything but a positive development on that front. But I’m not so sure it will have a material impact on PokerStars’ ability to gain entry to New Jersey.

PokerStars statement

Via PokerFuse:

Mark Scheinberg, the CEO of PokerStars, has agreed to forfeit USD $50 million to the US Government. This forfeiture settles potential claims against Mark’s assets based on the allegations contained in the April 15th 2011 US Government complaint against PokerStars. The agreement is not in response to any action that had been brought against Mark and contains no admission of wrongdoing, culpability or guilt on his behalf.

Full text of the settlement here.

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