The nightmare of the last 16+ months is finally over for poker players who have had their money tied up on Full Tilt Poker as the site’s longtime rival, PokerStars, has officially announced they have purchased the beleaguered company from the US Department of Justice, and at the same time settled the civil complaints made against PokerStars and their top executives.
The news that an announcement of the deal was imminent first came to light on Friday thanks to Wendeen Eolis, followed by a slew of other sources confirming or corroborating that something big had occurred on Friday. While the deal was delayed one day, it appears Eolis was right on the money.
Today DiamondFlush reported that the deal was indeed done, DiamondFlushPoker.com, and both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker issued their own press releases on the matter.
So if you just heard a low, collective, cheer and can’t figure out where it is coming from let me explain: regardless of where you are in the world you just heard the simultaneous reaction of thousands of poker players cheering and high-fiving one another after finally getting the confirmation they have been waiting for; that their $350 million will in fact be returned. US players will have to file a request to the Department of Justice, while PokerStars will repay some $184 million to players around the world within 90 days according to the early reports.
Word of the potential deal was first heard on April 24th, when a number of sources started blitzing social media and Internet forums with a similar story: The deal between Full Tilt Poker and Groupe Bernard Tapie (via the DOJ) had fallen through and PokerStars was swooping in, ready to pay $750 million for the site.
According to the details released today, PokerStars will pay the US DOJ $547 million over the next three years along with the $184 million the site will set aside to pay Rest of World players at Full Tilt Poker, by doing so the civil and money laundering charges leveled against the site will be dropped.
According to the rumors, players will be repaid within 90-days of the official sale date, and if PokerStars handling of player payouts post-Black Friday is any indication, players will likely see their funds even sooner than that. However, the criminal charges are still in place.
So, there are still plenty of remaining questions, such as what will become of the individual indictments handed down on Black Friday, not only to PokerStars head honcho Isai Scheinberg, but also the three key figures at Full Tilt Poker, Howard Lederer, Rafe Furst, and Chris Ferguson.
Another question is, what is the future of these two companies in the US market, and will they be allowed to apply for online poker licenses at the state or federal level when legislation is passed?