The US government shut down several of the largest poker websites last week and seized five associated domain names, which caused considerable outrage and tumult in the US and around the world. The website operators and facilitators were indicted by Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and they face a variety of charges.
The US Attorney’s office issued another press release this morning (see pdf on US Attorney’s website), announcing that a deal has been struck between Bharara’s office and Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker to restore the PokerStars.com and FullTiltPoker.com domain names, allowing US players to withdraw funds being held by the two companies.
According to today’s press release:
“Under the terms of the agreements with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, the companies agreed that they would not allow for, facilitate, or provide the ability for players located in the United States to engage in playing online poker for “real money” or any other thing of value. The agreements allow for PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to use the pokerstars.com and fulltiltpoker.com domain names to facilitate the withdrawal of U.S. players’ funds held in account with the companies. The deposit of funds by U.S. players is expressly prohibited.”
This appears to be good news for US-based poker players who were concerned about the status of their deposits. Poker players who used other websites are not yet in the clear to receive their funds, but the press release mentioned that “the Government stands to enter the same agreement with Absolute Poker if it so chooses.”
Neither website appears to be operational yet, as both still have the seizure notice on them. It may take some time for the websites’ DNS to propagate, just as it took up to 2 days for the sites to show the seizure notice for some people.
Thanks to Alexander Ripps at GamblingCompliance.com for the tip.