DOJ releases PokerStars, Full Tilt domains
The United States Department of Justice has returned the .com domain names to both Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars to allow for refunds to American players.
According to a release from the DOJ Monday morning, the agreement was brokered between the two sites and the Department of Justice so that player funds may be requested and processed immediately.
According to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara:
"No individual player accounts were ever frozen or restrained, and each implicated poker company has at all times been free to reimburse any player's deposited funds.
"In fact, 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, as today's agreements with Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker demonstrate."
The agreement does however still prohibit US players from making deposits or playing for real money or anything of value. It also explicitly allows Full Tilt and PokerStars to continue offering games to customers outside of the United States.
Finally, the release states that an independent monitor will be assigned to ensure that both sites comply with the agreement. It also leaves the door open for Absolute Poker to enter the same agreement.
Full Tilt Poker released a statement shortly afterwards speaking about the deal with a slightly different perspective.
"Unfortunately, there remain significant practical and legal impediments to returning funds to players in the immediate future.
"As a result of the recent enforcement action, there exists no authorized U.S. payment channel through which to make refunds.
"Full Tilt Poker has no accounting of the millions of dollars of player funds that were seized by the government and the government has not agreed to permit any of the seized player funds to be returned to the players."
According to sources, at present, Pokerstars has already started to process payouts to US players.
Full Tilt is still not allowing withdrawals, but many feel that it is just a matter of time before withdrawals will be available.