As of lately, PokerStars does indeed own Full Tilt Poker. PokerStars, the largest online poker company in the world, made an announcement back in July 2012 that the company and the U.S. Department of Justice had come to an agreement to sell off Full Tilt Poker’s assets.
Formerly, Full Tilt Poker was a competitor of PokerStars, but its reputation along with its finances went down the drain after it had been ousted for operating as a Ponzi scheme. Full Tilt Poker currently owes almost $300 million in total to players all over the world, which is probably why the settlement was worth almost $731 million.
$547 million out of that amount is being paid to the U.S. government over three years, which the government is going to use as reimbursement to Full Tilt Poker’s former U.S. customers. The rest of approximately $184 million out of that amount was paid PokerStars as immediate reimbursement to non-U.S. customers of Full Tilt Poker.
Some readers may find it odd that the U.S. Department of Justice has somewhat served as a broker for a deal between two leading online poker companies. After all, online gambling has been illegal in the United States since 2006, and payments cannot be processed to offshore gambling websites by U.S. banks.
The truth is that the origin of this deal can be traced back to April 15, 2011, which everyone in the world of poker now refers to as Black Friday. Black Friday was the day when both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker had been accused of and charged with bank fraud, illegal gambling and money laundering, and all three companies had been shut down after being seized.
PokerStars was lucky enough to be able to continue its operations to players outside the United States after paying out players whose accounts the U.S. government had frozen. However, PokerStars was yet to settle its legal issues with the U.S. Department of Justice back then. Fortunately for PokerStars, they were not in much of a massive financial mess as Full Tilt Poker had wound up in.
However, despite those financial and legal troubles, investors had still been showing interest in Full Tilt Poker, especially because and extensive player database and top of the line software. Therefore, it is not surprising that PokerStars, despite their own negative standing, had been so eager to settle while acquiring the assets of Full Tilt Poker. Even more surprising is the fact that Full Tilt has gone live and is beginning to do quite well under the ownership of PokerStars.