It's the news that online poker players around the world have been waiting for. PokerStars have finally reached an agreement to acquire the assets of Full Tilt Poker and pay back its players funds outstanding after the sites closures in the wake of Black Friday. The agreement has been authorised by the US attorney's office and will involve Full Tilt relinquishing all assets to the attorney's office who will then transfer certain assets to PokerStars.
The forfeiture of the assets will be completed in return for all civil forfeiture claims and money laundering charges against the Full Tilt companies being dismissed with prejudice (the civil and criminal charges against individuals including those from within Full Tilt's management team however remain unaffected).
PokerStars have also agreed to pay $547 million to the US government to fend off the money laundering claims over a period of three years.
The biggest news as far as the players are concerned is that PokerStars have also agreed that within 90 days of the completion of the asset transfer that all monies will be repaid to all non US players, totalling around $184 million. Furthermore, although not part of the agreement PokerStars have alluded to the fact that players will also be compensated in some form or another for FTP points and other bonuses/extras they may have been usually entitled to.
The situation regaring repayment is a little less straightforward but it still looks as though the approximately $150 million outstanding will be paid back on application. Players will have to file a petition for remission with the U.S. Department of Justice, Asset Forfeiture Money Laundering Service (AFMLS), taking into regard the PokerStars forfeited funds, to seek compensation for their losses. A potentially more lengthy process but nevertheless one which will more than likely lead to the repayment of outstanding US player funds.
As part of the deal we will also see the Canadian-Israeli founder of PokerStars, Isai Scheinberg step down from any managerial role within the PokerStars group of companies, effective 45 days from closing. If Scheinberg is eventually cleared of any of the charges currently hanging over him since Black Friday then this decision may or may not be reversed.
PokerStars hasn't yet given a date when Full Tilt will be up and running but the likelyhood is that it will be sooner rather than later. See PokerStars press release for more details of their perspective on these latest developments
For further details on the settlement and its conditions you can refer to the report released recently from diamondflushpoker here