After a meeting of the minds today between federal prosecutors and three large Internet poker companies, the first step of actual progress has been made since the historic “Black Friday” over a year ago. In a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice, PokerStars agreed to pay the government $547 million dollars over the next three years.
Since PokerStars has acquired all the assets of Full Tilt Poker, part of that money will be used to reimburse former Full Tilt customers from the US, who were jilted out of $184 million when it was shut down by the DoJ.
Interestingly enough, the government stated the approved settlements (those between the government and Pokerstars, Full Tilt) do not constitute any admissions of liability, guilt, or wrong doing by the affected parties. Reaching the agreement, however, was crucial in the ability for Poker Stars to reenter the US market if (once?) laws are changed to make playing poker online legal.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement that the settlement deals “will allow us to quickly get significant compensation into the victim players’ hands.”
As of this post, a settlement offer had not been approved between the US Government and Absolute Poker, the last of the “Black Friday” trifecta that was accused of laundering a large portion of its multi-billion dollar income through hundreds of non-existent online merchants. Read more about it in this Huffington Post article.