In a surprising turn of events this morning the United States Department of Justice will be allowing the two largest online poker sites serving American players to restore their .com web addresses to help facilitate player withdrawals. Since last Friday there has been very little news coming out regarding the future of American online poker. This press release from the US Attorney’s Office goes into detail about the allegations levied against online poker companies and operators as well as their plan going forward for the safe return of players funds.
As of right now it is unknown whether the CEREUS Network, home to Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker, has entered as similar agreement as FullTilt and PokerStars.
The release makes sure to mention this legal action was strictly against the individuals who “allegedly engaged not merely in the operation of illegal gambling businesses, but in a massive wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering, despite repeated warnings and clear notice that their account was illegal in the United States.” It seems FullTilt and PokerStars had to agree to cut off all real money play to Americans in order to help return the funds to their players. While their hands were more than likely tied this is a great sign of good faith from the two major sites leading the charge for American online poker over the past five years. Both poker rooms will be able to use their old domains, pokerstars.com and fulltiltpoker.com, to “facilitate the withdrawal of U.S. players’ funds held in account with the companies.” This new ruling also allows for PokerStars and FullTilt to remain open to service the rest of the world in playing real money online poker.
While the news still seems hazy for the future of American poker it does seem as strong as ever for the rest of the world. Stay turned to FlopTurnRiver for any and all news covering this story in the upcoming days.