PokerStars has officially closed its civil settlement deal with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to acquire the assets and non-US liabilities of former rival Full Tilt Poker for US$547m.
Head of Home Games for the poker room, Lee Jones, issued a statement to the 2+2 poker forum yesterday, in which he said the company was “delighted” to have closed the deal as of 9 August.
The world’s leading poker room has paid an initial US$225m to the US government to acquire the assets of Full Tilt, and under the terms of the deal announced on 31 July, now has to make a further US$184m owed to Full Tilt’s non-US players available for withdrawal in full within 90 days.
Jones said the relaunched Full Tilt Poker would be live “no later than that day”, which falls on the US election date of 6 November.
PokerStars will make further staggered forfeiture payments of US$125m, US$100m and US$97m within three years of the closing date by way of settlement of the US government’s civil case brought against it last year.
US players still owed by money by the poker room when it folded following its collapse in the wake of US federal prosecutors shutting it down in the US last April will be able to apply for compensation from the US DoJ out of the monies forfeited by PokerStars. Details of exactly how US players will receive their money have however yet to be clarified.
In a blow for listed poker rooms such as bwin.party’s PartyPoker, which unlike PokerStars pulled of the US upon passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006 with detrimental impacts on its poker business and share price, Stars’ settlement deal will also allow it to apply for licensing at federal/or state level as opportunities arise.
PokerStars has stated plans to re-launch Full Tilt outside of the high-tax regulated markets of France, Italy, Spain and Denmark, where privately owned Stars has used the financial advantage it gained from staying in the US post-UIGEA to outspend its rivals to leading positions in each market. Local French operator Winamax is however managing to hold its own against PokerStars in the tough dot.fr poker market, where a string of operators – Chilipoker.fr, TitanPoker.fr and Winga.fr – recently left the market due to tax rates making the market unviable and unprofitable.