Poker Stars Reaches Settlement in Full Tilt Scandal
After a year of uncertainty in the world of online poker, players have received the good news they have been hoping for.
PokerStars came in and settled with US justice officials in an agreement that allows them to purchase the Full Tilt brand. PokerStars agreed to pay $731 million to cover the cost of the purchase, as well as to settle the civil lawsuits that it has received.
A very large portion of this money will go towards paying back players (in the US and abroad). But if you are one of the players that had their bankroll tied up since April 2011, you're going to have to request your reimbursement.
According to www.pokersites.com, out of the huge agreed-upon sum, $547 million will be forfeited to the Justice Department. This money will, at least in part, be used to fully reimburse any American players that had money in their Full Tilt Poker accounts when the events of Black Friday essentially froze all Full Tilt activity.
If you are one of these players, you have to apply for your refund by contacting the Justice Department directly. Online poker is still legal for US players, so most have nothing to worry about, but the Internet has been abuzz with players that are worried about the tax implications.
Unfortunately, it's simply too soon to tell if these concerns are justified. Non-US players will be paid out directly by PokerStars within 90 days.
Although it's far too early to know the details, PokerStars does say that it plans on running Full Tilt as a stand-alone poker room in the future. In a statement, they said, “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.”
The criminal charges against several top-level executives in both companies have not been dropped but the sale of Full Tilt does suggest that the Justice Department may be flexible in its stance on online gambling. Only time will tell what kind of legal status online poker is granted in the future.