Seized online poker rooms reach deal with government

Updated: April 20th, 2011 by Dev Ops

Press releases by the United States Attorney Office for the Southern District of New York and Full Tilt Poker will likely having US poker players doing cartwheels as it appears their funds may be reimbursed much sooner than expected at both Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars.

In the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York’s press release, Preet Bharara stated that “No individual player accounts were ever frozen or restrained, and each implicated poker company has at all times been free to reimburse any player’s deposited funds. In fact, this Office expects the companies to return the money that U.S. players entrusted to them, and we will work with the poker companies to facilitate the return of funds to players, as today’s agreements with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker demonstrate.”

“Under the terms of the agreements with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, the companies agreed that they would not allow for, facilitate, or provide the ability for players located in the United States to engage in playing online poker for “real money” or any other thing of value. The agreements allow for PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to use the pokerstars.com andfulltiltpoker.com domain names to facilitate the withdrawal of U.S. players’ funds held in account with the companies. The deposit of funds by U.S. players is expressly prohibited. In addition, the agreements do not prohibit, and, in fact, expressly allow for, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to provide for, and facilitate, players outside of the United States to engage in playing online poker for real money. The agreements also require the appointment of an independent Monitor to verify PokerStars’ and Full Tilt Poker’s compliance with the agreements. The Government stands to enter the same agreement with Absolute Poker if it so chooses.”

For those of you interested in reading the full press release you can visit the justice.gov website.

Full Tilt Poker issued their own statement on the subject, reiterating the US government’s remarks in regards to the deal –which forbids PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker from offering real-money online poker games in the US while returning their .com domain names—and once again emphasizing that players’ money is safe and will be returned… although precisely when this will occur is another matter entirely!

Here is a look at the Full Tilt Poker statement:

“Full Tilt Poker™ is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York to regain the use of its worldwide domain name, www.fulltiltpoker.com.

“Although players in the United States will not be permitted to engage in real-money play, the agreement expressly allows for real-money play outside of the United States.

“In addition, the agreement represents an important first step towards returning funds to U.S. players because it allows Full Tilt Poker to utilize its domain to facilitate the withdrawal of player funds. But, unfortunately, there remain significant practical and legal impediments to returning funds to players in the immediate future. As a result of the recent enforcement action, there exists no authorized U.S. payment channel through which to make refunds; Full Tilt Poker has no accounting of the millions of dollars of player funds that were seized by the government; and the government has not agreed to permit any of the seized player funds to be returned to the players.

“Finally, there are numerous legal and jurisdictional issues that must be considered before poker winnings can be paid out to players throughout the United States. While Full Tilt Poker continues to believe that online poker is not illegal under federal law or in 49 states, the indictment and civil forfeiture action filed last Friday require Full Tilt Poker to proceed with caution in this area.

“Notwithstanding these issues, Full Tilt Poker is ready to work diligently with the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York to try and resolve these issues and to get players their money back as soon as possible.”

 

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