Latest Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars News
It’s been a few weeks since PokerStars acquired Full Tilt after striking a landmark $731 million deal with the DOJ. Since that time, there has been an onslaught of rumors and information pertaining to Full Tilt Poker latest news and player refunds.
Clearly, there is still plenty of dust yet to settle from this historic acquisition, but in the meantime we’ll try to make sense of as much of it as we can. Here is a rundown of the latest worthwhile notes regarding PokerStars’ acquisition of the site that was once its largest competitor:
Full Tilt Poker Relaunch Date
The man who officially broke the news to the poker world of the PokerStars buyout of Full Tilt, Lee Jones, has announced that Full Tilt Poker will relaunch by November 6th.
A poker room manager for Full Tilt has shared on the TwoPlusTwo forums that Full Tilt will remain a separate entity with a separate look from PokerStars. He also stated that players from all over the world should soon be able to resume fake-money play on the site under their original IDs.
Player Refunds Update
As per their agreement with the DOJ, PokerStars is committed to repaying the approximately $184 million owed to Full Tilt Poker’s non-U.S. players within 90 days. PokerStars will be refunding Full Tilt’s non-U.S. players no later than the site’s relaunch date. These players will be repaid via their Full Tilt accounts and will process cashouts like business-as-usual through the site.
It’s a different story altogether for the refund process for U.S. players. Controversially, the DOJ has assumed responsibility for reimbursing U.S. players and will do so from the $225 million that PokerStars has already surrendered to the DOJ. PokerStars owes the DOJ an additional $322 million which will be paid in three annual installments.
US Cash Grab?
Much speculation exists regarding why the DOJ insisted on refunding U.S. players despite PokerStars having offered to do so themselves. Many in the industry fear the DOJ’s motivation is rooted in greed. While no official details regarding the repayment process to U.S. players has been released, it is considered highly likely that the IRS will be included in the process and could receive a cut of funds distributed to U.S. players.
The DOJ recently posted a bid for a “claims administrator” to their website to handle the cashout process for Full Tilt Poker users. The listing states that there are $159 million in forfeited funds immediately available for redistribution “less expenses of administration”. That wording seems to make it apparent that the DOJ will let the winning bidder of the claims process charge a transaction fee for each cashout.
Making the government’s possible money grab in the player refund process even more conspicuous is that PokerStars is paid the government $547 million despite owing a burden of less than half of that to U.S. players. While much of the player repayment process remains speculation, one thing seems pretty apparent: the government is getting their hands on plenty of money through the deal.