Breakdown of the Stars FTP deal for US players

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Aug 01, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

On Tuesday the poker world received the news it had been patiently awaiting when PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and the US Department of Justice announced they had come to terms on a deal that would see Full Tilt Poker forfeit its assets to the DOJ who in turn sold them to PokerStars, at the same time dismissing the civil forfeiture claims and money laundering claims filed against both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. What wasn’t quite as clear was how this settlement would affect US players, which we intend to cover in this article.

According to the Press Release issued by the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York: “Under the terms of the settlement with Full Tilt, U.S. victims of the company’s alleged fraud will be able to seek compensation from the Department of Justice (“DOJ”). The funds that will be used to compensate qualifying victims will come from the $547 million that will be forfeited by PokerStars as part of its settlement with the Government.”

Payouts for US Players

What this means is that while non-US players are recouping their funds and given the opportunity to once again play at Full Tilt Poker where laws permit the site to operate, US players will likely be waiting for a check from the department of Justice, along with having to submit all their personal details which may very well end up in the hands of the IRS. Precisely how long US players will have to wait, and what types of hoops they will have to jump through to reclaim their funds has yet to be determined –hopefully this information will become available when PokerStars makes the necessary $225 million payment to the DOJ within the next six days.

According to Russ Fox at players in the US should expect payments by Christmas time, while the rest of the world will be paid by early November at the latest. Fox went on to describe the remission process for US players:

“If you are within the United States, you will be repaid by the Department of Justice (the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York). You will have to apply through remission with the DOJ to be repaid. I assume (but am not certain) that the FTP site or client will be reopened so that US players can look to see what their balances were. A fund of $150 million will be set up for the repayment. The exact process will likely be revealed in the press release to come from the DOJ, but here is a sample remission petition (Hat Tip: Taxdood)”

FTP Points

Since the deal makes no mention of PokerStars reimbursing players for their Frequent Player Points on Full Tilt Poker it’s unlikely the Department of Justice will compensate US players for these balances (according to poker blogger DiamondFlush PokerStars has stated they will in fact compensate players for their FTP balances even though they are not required to do so per the DOJ deal).

From the looks of it, US players will only be compensated for their account balances.

US Legislation

As part of the agreement both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker will be able to reenter the US market in locales where the law permits online gaming. This allows PokerStars to apply for two separate licenses in Nevada, although they would have to partner with an existing Brick & Mortar casino operating in Nevada to get on the initial short-list.

Currently both poker rooms will still be barred from operating in the US.


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