The abundance of news spread like a wild fire from a lightning strike hit when the poker world was finally able to realize a solid deal with long-stalled Full Tilt Poker had taken place. Our usual Inside Shuffle is filled with a variety of tidbits of events and circumstances going on around the world, but not today. Today we are listing everything of importance that has hit poker news in the last few days on the happenings relating to Black Friday. Read on.
Full Tilt Poker Assets Acquired by PokerStars
The online poker world had been waiting over the weekend, expecting to hear that PokerStars had completed its deal with the Department of Justice (DoJ) on Monday, the 30th of July, and Full Tilt Poker was under a new administration. There were rumors flying and some in the media had almost rock solid proof that it was going to be a done deal.
That press release didn't hit until Tuesday, the 31st of July, but it shot right out of the cannon when it did and everyone in the world that writes poker news, or has a friend to tell, or a Facebook or Twitter account told the next person that told someone else.
It's highly exciting news. For one thing, the players that have been hung out to dry should start to receive their player account refunds soon. There is a contingency that PokerStars must forfeit/pay millions for the deal to happen - in a six day time frame - and pay millions more over an extended period.
The great news is that once the smoke clears, and it will, Full Tilt Poker players should be reimbursed soon and PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker can apply to re-enter the U.S. market when it's legal.
US DoJ Requests Settlement Agreement with UB/Absolute Poker
When the U.S. Department of Justice released a statement regarding a settlement with PokerStars for Full Tilt Poker's assets, the DoJ mentioned a motion requesting a settlement agreement with Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet. In essence, the agreement requires all assets of the company be forfeit to completely resolve the action and that the government be permitted to liquidate Absolute's assets. The pending resolution of claims filed by other parties claiming an ownership interest in Absolute Assets would then be satisfied from the net proceeds of the sale.
Tuesday found the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York submitting a declaration in support of the government's motion.
Read More at PokerNews.com.
Ray Bitar's Statement
Yesterday Ray Bitar released the following statement:
STATEMENT OF RAYMOND J. BITAR
Over the past few days, I signed the papers necessary to complete Full Tilt’s deal with the US Government. The Company’s assets will now be transferred to PokerStars and Full Tilt employees will have a new employer as well. I believe that this deal will result in Full Tilt’s customers being repaid. I am extremely pleased and excited by this prospect. For the past 15 months, I have worked hard on possible solutions to get players repaid. It has been a very long road, with lots of bumps along the way, but I am glad we have gotten to the end. I only wish that we could have resolved the situation much sooner.
Today’s settlement also ends the US Government’s legal case against the Full Tilt companies. I am glad that this chapter has closed. I would like to thank the company’s many dedicated employees who helped achieve this result. It has been a pleasure working at Full Tilt and I am grateful for the many friendships and memories that I made there. I wish everyone in the Full Tilt family success in their future endeavors.
I also extend my best wishes to PokerStars. This is a very creative deal and it should benefit everyone: the players, Full Tilt and PokerStars alike.
— Ray Bitar
Read more from Diamond Flush Poker.
Bitar returned to New York in early July and surrendered to U.S. authorities only to find a superseding indictment had been filed against him. He pleaded not guilty to nine counts and after posting a $2.5 million personal recognizance bond was released.
Bitar was named in the original 2011 Black Friday indictment which included five charges. Two of them were related to violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006; one was for operating an illegal gambling business; one was for conspiring to commit bank fraud; and the last was for money laundering conspiracy.
Lee Jones FAQs on TwoPlusTwo
Lee Jones is the Head of Home Games at PokerStars and has set up an FAQ on TwoPlusTwo.com about the recent acquisition of Full Tilt Poker by PokerStars. The FAQ should address any account questions players have. Jones said he expects to visit the thread two-three times a day and update with any relevant news.
Jones said the company is not looking to license Full Tilt Poker to operate in France, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Estonia, or Belgium since Full Tilt players in those countries can play on PokerStars.
PokerStars Press Release
PokerStars does not admit to any wrongdoing under the agreement with the Department of Justice and the agreement permits PokerStars, under both the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands to apply to relevant U.S. gaming authorities to offer real money online poker when the framework has been introduced by State or Federal governments to regulate the activity.
A new management team will be appointed for Full Tilt Poker and Dublin will continue to be the base of operations. PokerStars plans a re-launch of Full Tilt Poker as a separate brand in most markets.
“We are delighted we have been able to put this matter behind us, and also secured our ability to operate in the United States of America whenever the regulations allow,” said Mark Scheinberg, Chairman of the Board of PokerStars. “This outcome demonstrates our continuing global leadership of the online poker industry, and our commitment to working with governments and regulators to ensure the highest standards of protection for players.”
Read the full report at PokerStars.com.
FTP Players Repayment Resource Center
The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has established a page that will be updated with news and guides for players to fully understand the "remission of funds" process with the DoJ. Expect updates as they become available and if you live in the United States, becoming a member of the PPA will help enforce the fact that U.S. players want to play online in a safe and protected environment. And we want our money back, Damn it!
Visit the PPA and scroll to read the statement released yesterday: "PPA Statement on PokerStars' Purchase of Full Tilt Poker and Legal Settlement with U.S. Department of Justice."
Read the statement here.
Nelson Burtnick Arrested and Released on Bail
Nelson Burtnick is a former Full Tilt Poker Payment Processor and when he arrived in New Jersey on Tuesday from his home in Dublin, he was met by U.S. authorities and arrested. Burtnick was one of 11 men that were indicted on Black Friday by the U.S. government.
Burtnick appeared in court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to bank fraud and all charges of money laundering in connection with the illegal activities conducted at Full Tilt Poker. Burtnick had to surrender all of his travel documents and post a $500,000 bond to be released on bail - he is restricted to parts of New Jersey and New York.
Read the report at PokerNews.com.
Image courtesy of PokerNews.com