PokerStars’ Scheinberg Settles Black Friday Case
The former chairman of online poker behemoth PokerStars has reached a deal with the United States government to settle his Black Friday case. Mark Scheinberg will forfeit $50 million in assets.
Scheinberg’s agreement with the federal government does not make clear what portion of the $50 million sum is comprised of cash and how much represents assets. A copy of the deal can be found here.
Settlement is unrelated to PokerStars 2012 deal
Scheinberg’s settlement, however, has nothing to do with a deal that PokerStars hammered out with the Justice Department last summer, in which the company agreed to pay $731 million to acquire the assets, and player debts, of its former rival poker site, Full Tilt Poker.
Both sites were shut down in April of 2011 amid a government crackdown on illegal gambling websites. Part of the $731 million settlement figure was earmarked for repayment of player accounts, which were frozen at the time of the government’s seizure.
Players in regulated foreign markets outside the US were fully reimbursed for the value of their accounts when PokerStars relaunched Full Tilt last fall. US-based players are still waiting to find out when they will be able to recover their funds, though last month a series of communications posted on the TwoPlusTwo forum suggested that the remittance process could stretch out another two years.
Scheinberg admits no wrongdoing
Much like PokerStars itself, which admitted no wrongdoing when it settled its case with the US government last summer, Scheinberg is closing this chapter without admitting to any criminal act.
In the case of PokerStars as a company, avoiding the admission of having committed any sort of crime in continuing to offer US-facing real-money online poker after 2006 is key, considering that as states begin to contemplate – and in the case of New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, pass – laws that regulated online poker, there is often a so-called “bad actor” clause that would prohibit companies who ran illegal online gambling websites to enter newly-regulated American markets. Since the company has not admitted to any malfeasance, theoretically it could seek to be licensed in states that have passed laws allowing residents to play online poker.
Alas, according to gambling industry experts, the bad-actor clauses are usually fairly moot points, being that none of the major companies that would seek out licenses have ever been convicted of such a crime.
Check back as we continue to update this story with new developments.