Following 15 months of uncertainty, Full Tilt Players now finally know that they will see their bankrolls again. PokerStars today announced to have reached a settlement with the DOJ to acquire the FTP assets and pay back all players.
PokerStars has today announced to have reached a deal with the United States Department of Justice to acquire the assets of Full Tilt Poker.
The announcement follows months of speculation about the future of Full Tilt, and allows for thousands of players to be reunited with their bankrolls after more than 15 months of waiting.
According to a press release from PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker has voluntarily agreed to forfeit all assets to the DOJ, and the US government will then transfer those assets to PokerStars in return for a $547 million settlement payment.
Full Tilt players in the U.S. will then be repaid by the DOJ, while PokerStars will reimburse players in the rest of the world. All in all, players can look forward to receiving more than $300 million back as a result of the settlement.
The deal itself will be complete once PokerStars wires a $225 million payment to the U.S. government within six days of today's settlement.
Once the money is received, the deal will come into effect, and Full Tilt Poker will be on PokerStars' hands.
As part of the agreement, all civil crime charges and money laundering charges against individuals related to either company will be dropped.
This means that Ray Bitar, Isai Scheinberg, Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer and other key figures who have still to be trialed in the Black Friday indictment case will likely walk free.
No person involved in the management of Full Tilt Poker pre-Black Friday will however be allowed to serve any significant function once Full Tilt relaunches. Similarly, Isai Scheinberg - founder of PokerStars and indicted on Black Friday - will be forced to step down from the PokerStars board.
PokerStars has stated that the site aims to have repaid all non-U.S. players their Full Tilt player balances within three months. U.S. players, in turn, will have to file for a remission with the U.S. Department of Justice, who will then handle the American payouts.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, PokerStars has also declared that the company intends to keep both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker running as separate poker rooms.
"It's too early to begin disclosing many details about our strategic plans for Full Tilt, but our first order of business is to re-open the site, pay back all of the players and begin rebuilding Full Tilt's reputation," PokerStars wrote in the press release.
"Going forward, we will operate Full Tilt as a separate brand, giving players another leading and trusted platform to enjoy the game."
The arrangement will thus see Full Tilt Poker return to a number of regulated markets, possibly as soon as the site reopens in three months time.
As part of the settlement, both Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars will also be given permission to apply for future online poker licenses in the United States, at both state and federal level.
To read the full message from PokerStars on today's groundbreaking deal, see the PokerStars Blog.