Poker players and affiliates have been going stir crazy since the Justice Dept started freezing assets in April, wondering if they’ll ever get their money out. They finally got to breathe a sigh of relief last week as DOJ released a payment processing accounts.
The account belonged to Sphene International, one of the accounts PokerStars used for its payment processing services. PokerStars has been working hard to gain the trust of the Justice Department, and has been walking a straight line and kissing DOJ’s ass to resolve the issues they face.
Full Tilt Poker has not been behaving as well. The gaming community is starting to lose track of all the times Full Tilt has been in the news for some new allegation or other. Press coverage of Full Tilt covers everything from delaying legal proceedings, facing new class action lawsuits and frustrations over money that has been stuck in customer accounts for almost half a year.
The DOJ was strict on the terms under which the account could be released. They specified that the account had to maintain a balance of at least $5.5 million at all times.
The big question is how long the DOJ will let PokerStars keep the account. As online poker is illegal in the United States, the proceeds were illegally obtained. Will the U.S. Government seize those assets when the rest of the legal issues are resolved? That’s a very real possibility.
PokerStars Stays Strong
Many people thought Black Friday would cripple PokerStars, just like the rest of the poker industry. Despite expectations, PokerStars has kept its head above water. It remains the industry leader, even after losing its American audience.
PokerStars still has many other accounts yet to be unfrozen. Now that at least one of these accounts has been unfrozen, there is reason to be hopeful the Black Friday mess is finally being taken care of. PokerStars will be better off than most of its competitors as it is willing to cooperate with the Justice Department.
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