PokerStars to Settle Money Laundering Issues at $547M

Online poker leaders PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker have recently been subjected to criminal charges, with 10 out of its 11 executives pleading guilty of money laundering charges.  The settlement for the issues were closed at 731 million dollars, $547 million of which will be paid to the government and the remaining $184 million will be reserved for reimbursing the victims of the online money laundering scheme.

The settlement amount that will be paid to the government was approved by Leonard Sand, US District Judge, which is set to be paid in a period of three years.  The $184 million will be allotted and made available by the online poker companies to repay all the player victims.

The 184-million-dollar payment will actually cover for reimbursing the players of Full Tilt Poker, given that the company is no longer operational and it owes its players this amount of money.

The charges on Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars was based on the fact that the online poker magnates were laundering the money through making online payments to dummy merchants selling items like jewelry and other expensive products.  A Manhattan attorney, Preet Bharara, have been working on shutting down the online poker providers, on the grounds of improper operation of the gambling businesses that do not adhere to US government policies.

It is said that forfeiting the companies’ assets to the government is not to be taken as a sign that PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker are admitting their fault; rather, agreeing to the settlement is their means of having a more harmonious relationship with the government for them to be given the chance to operate fully and legally.  Besides, the grounds on which they were taken in were rather a “gray area” in terms of online poker gaming itself – since there is no or very limited rules and regulations implemented for this type of industry.  With this, the government will be coordinating with gambling authorities and other institutions to be able to properly regulate this kind of online gambling.

Aside from these two, another online poker company called Absolute Poker is also going through the settlement process with the government for similar reasons.  Although this is so, no conclusion has been made yet on the case of Absolute Poker.

After the ordeal, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker would now be making their best efforts to comply with all the regulations pertaining to gambling: whether online or otherwise.

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