Entries in PokerStars (3)


PokerStars' Bid to Buy Casino Could Signal Gambling Gold Rush

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A move by the online gaming giant PokerStars to buy an Atlantic City, N.J., casino could signal a gold rush for the gambling industry, according to industry watchers.

Online companies are expected to be scrambling for land and casinos in states like Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, which recently passed laws allowing online gambling if it is affiliated with in-state casinos.  Similar bills have also been introduced in Pennsylvania and Illinois.

PokerStars, part of the online gambling corporation Rational Group, based in the U.K., struck a deal earlier this year to buy the Atlantic Club, an 800-room hotel and casino on the Atlantic City boardwalk, according to paperwork filed with the state's division of gaming enforcement.

The move came after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a law on Feb. 26 allowing online gambling for residents as long as the games were hosted by in-state casinos located in Atlantic City.

The company, which was previously indicted by the Department of Justice for offering online gambling to U.S. residents, wants to legally operate its website and the casino, according to its owners.  They reportedly paid about $30 million for the casino.

"In a nutshell, the future of gaming will require a mix of online and offline expertise," Eric Hollreiser, spokesman for PokerStars, told ABC News in an email.  "We are the world's largest online poker company and one of the largest producers of live poker tournaments in the world, which we produce in many of the world's best known casinos."

Hollreiser said that the proposed business model would help drive online gamers into casinos for live tournaments, and remind casino-goers to log on and game at home until their next visit.

"We drive traffic from our online tournaments to our major casino partners around the world.  This drives a poker tourism business in cities such as London, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, (and) Rio," he said.  "The traffic runs both ways as we introduce new audiences to poker in these live tournaments."

PokerStars is awaiting approval from the Division of Gaming Enforcement and the state's Casino Control Commission.  If it goes through, it could represent the first time a gaming website has transformed into owning and operating a hotel and casino.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


PokerStars in $731M Money-Laundering Settlement

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- PokerStars has agreed to a $731 million money-laundering settlement with the U.S. government that includes reimbursement for some customers whose funds were frozen when the feds cracked down on the gambling sites.

PokerStars also will acquire the assets of its former competitor, Full Tilt Poker, as part of the agreement, the companies said today.

On April 15, 2011, the Department of Justice shut down PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker, the three largest online poker companies operating in the U.S., alleging illegal gambling and money laundering, and cutting off a source of income for online professional gamblers across the country.

Under the settlement, PokerStars will pay $547 million over three years to the U.S. and must make available to foreign players all balances, about $184 million, that were held in the Full Tilt accounts within 90 days, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. U.S. players at Full Tilt must apply to the Department of Justice for reimbursement.

“Acquiring certain assets of Full Tilt Poker strengthens PokerStars, brings welcome relief to Full Tilt Poker players who have been waiting over 12 months for repayment of their money, and benefits the entire poker community,” Mark Scheinberg, chairman of PokerStars, said in a statement.

PokerStars has remained open for players outside the U.S. players and repaid its U.S. customers after operations were halted.

Earlier this month, Full Tilt Poker CEO Raymond Bitar was charged with promising players that their funds would be protected in “segregated” accounts when the company used the money to pay for Full Tilt operations and to pay Bitar and other owners over $430 million. When Bitar willingly came to the U.S. from the company’s headquarters in Ireland, he said he would cooperate with authorities to return players’ money.

“We are pleased to announce these settlements by Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, which allow us to quickly get significant compensation into the victim players’ hands,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement.

The $547 million will be payable over three years.

PokerStars plans to re-launch Full Tilt Poker in most markets as a separate brand, following the appointment of a new, independent management team.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Two Shutdown Poker Sites to Return Poker Players' Money

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two of the three online poker sites shut down by the government last week have cut a deal to return players' money, the Justice Department in New York said Wednesday.

The agreements allow for PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to use the and domain names to facilitate the withdrawal of U.S. players' funds held in accounts with the companies, according to the statement.

"No individual player accounts were ever frozen or restrained, and each implicated poker company has at all times been free to reimburse any player's deposited funds," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharra said in a statement. "In fact, this office expects the companies to return the money that U.S. players entrusted to them, and we will work with the poker companies to facilitate the return of funds to players, as today's agreements with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker demonstrate."

While only two of the three companies were named in the announcement, the U.S. Attorney's office said that "the government stands to enter the same agreement with Absolute Poker if it so chooses."

Under the deal, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker agreed that "they would not allow for, facilitate, or provide the ability for players located in the United States to engage in playing online poker for 'real money' or any other thing of value."

Last week, the Justice Department filed a complaint for money laundering, fraud, and violating the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act against 11 individuals who run PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio