PokerStars to Acquire Full Tilt
Online poker giant PokerStars has agreed to acquire Full Tilt Poker and come to terms with a settlement with the US government that could see more than $300 million returned to players that had money on deposit with Full Tilt.
Rumors had swirled for months that PokerStars was negotiating to buy Full Tilt with the news finally breaking a few days ago in a complicated deal involving PokerStars, Full Tilt, and the US government.
Per the terms of the agreement, Full Tilt will first forfeit all its assets to the US government, which in turn is selling it to PokerStars for $547 million in payments over three years. The US government will then be responsible for refunding approximately $150 million owed to US players, with details as to how they can submit a claim and be paid to be released upon finalizing the deal.
PokerStars will be responsible for refunding Full Tilt clients outside the US, with about $184 million owed to those players, and a timeline of no more than 90 days for PokerStars to complete the process of repaying money owed to international players.
The deal will also see the US government drop all charges against Full Tilt and PokerStars as far as corporate crimes it accused the companies of in April 2012 such as money laundering and wire fraud; civil charges against executives and owners of the companies will remain in force, however, with the US free to pursue charges against the likes of Ray Bitar, Chris Ferguson, and Howard Lederer.
The settlement will also allow Full Tilt and PokerStars to apply for online gaming licenses in the US if state or federal laws are changed to allow for legal online poker, which some feel could occur before the end of 2012.
PokerStars plans to operate Full Tilt as a seperate brand, with the site opening for business again in as little as a few months if PokerStars is able to complete the deal and repay money owed to players in a timely fashion.
The news came as a huge relief for poker players around the world who'd seen their online balance at Full Tilt held hostage for well over a year, with some players owed six figure sums or more that they'd been unable to access.
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