Don't give this look in open court.

Full Tilt CEO Ray Bitar posted a $2.5 bail bond and was released from a Manhattan jail on Monday night. Bitar spent a full week in lockup after returning to the United States from Ireland to face gambling and fraud charges in connection with the government crackdown on online poker.

Want to know more about Bitar’s long road to justice? Check out our archive of Bitar and Full Tilt stories.

Conditions of Bail

Bitar’s hefty bail is a reflection of both the seriousness of the charges he’s facing, and the risk that he may flee the US entirely.

According to a report on, Bitar was unaware that charges against him had been expanded while he was a fugitive in Ireland and the judge in the case thinks that increases his chances of running away again. Given that he’s facing up to 145 years in prison and has access to large amounts of cash, his incentive to flee is high.

That hefty bond was backed by five, unnamed friends of Bitar’s. He also put up a warehouse he owns as collateral. All of those assets would be forfeited if he decides to run.

It’s expected that Bitar will be returning to his hometown of Glendora, California to await trial. During that time he’ll be electronically monitored by the Feds.

What’s it Mean for Online Poker?

Putting Bitar’s case to rest will be great news for PokerStars, which is both trying to buy Full Tilt and looking to break into the US market. Gaming regulators in states like Nevada wouldn’t be expected to look kindly on a company whose CEO is on the lam with player accounts still unsettled.

There’s no word yet on when Bitar will actually stand in front of a judge and jury, or even if he will stand trial at all. Given the fact that he willingly turned himself in, no one should be surprised if he cuts a deal with prosecutors.

Do you think Bitar will actually go to trial? Or will he cut a deal with the DOJ? Let us know your opinion on our Online Gambling Newswire Forum.


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