Poker Sites Make Deal with U.S.A. Department of Justice – Player Fears Eased

Written by Sadonna | Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Since the shutdown of three of the top online poker sites in the United States last Friday, online poker players have been worried about their poker accounts. Players have been unable to access their accounts at Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker after the federal government seized the poker room’s domain names. Now two of the online poker companies involved in the seizure have come to an agreement with the US Justice Department to make sure players can access the money in their accounts.

The two poker rooms which reached an agreement with the DOJ are PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Preet Bharara, the US attorney that drafted the federal indictment against the Big 4, commented in a statement released today that both poker rooms have signed a domain name use agreement which will help players gain access to the cash in their poker accounts.

The two online poker companies can now use their websites to ‘facilitate the withdrawal of U.S. players’ funds held in account with the companies.’ Bharara was also the one to announce the indictment which was placed against the founders of all three poker rooms. The companies were found to be undermining the UIGEA, a 2006 federal law which bans financial institutions from processing payments to offshore gambling sites.

When officials in the US seized the five domain names they also froze seventy six bank accounts located in fourteen different countries, all of which supposedly belong to the online poker companies. Players who were from the US and had accounts with the poker rooms lost access to those accounts after the seizure.

Bharara stated that no individual player accounts were frozen or restrained and each implicated poker company has been free during this time to reimburse the players funds. However without having access to their domain names, the online poker companies would have a difficult time processing any players request for their cash.

Bharara went on to say: “This office expects the companies to return the money that U.S. players entrusted to them, and we will work with the poker companies to facilitate the return of funds to players.”

With the new agreement in place since yesterday, both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker now have the ability to return funds to the players. PokerStars released a statement on the subject which read: “All PokerStars player deposits are completely safe’ and they plan on continuing business as usual outside the United States.

No word has been released on Absolute Poker so players of the online poker room will have to wait and see what will happen in time. The statement released by prosecutors does not give an update on the status of Absolute Poker’s domain name as well as player’s ability to access their accounts. As of the time this article was published both Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker still list the FBI and DOJ statement on their site. However PokerStars does appear as normal.

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