By Wendeen H. Eolis
[Update: Deal is now complete and official. (PokerStars Blog)]
At the end of last week, Poker Player Newspaper ("PPN") released breaking news that thundered across the online poker globe, announcing in very careful language that the die had been cast, effectively, for a completed deal between PokerStars and the United States Department of Justice to acquire the Full Tilt Poker ("FTP") brand.
One business day later, the poker natives are at peak restlessness, fuming over the delay in a concrete announcement by any of the parties that would confirm or bury the PPN bulletin.
by Wendeen H. Eolis
Breaking News: The ups and downs and glitches in negotiations between PokerStars and the United States Department of Justice with respect to Full Tilt Poker have come to an end.
Without giving away the identity of a consistently impeccable resource, it is now safe to say announcements for public dissemination are in the works. At this point I am ready to go out on a limb; FTP customers will see their monies well in time for Christmas shopping.
By Wendeen H. Eolis
Day seven of the 2012 World Series of Poker (“WSOP”) started with the final 27 players. Among the finalists, the poker gods favored two women but burst their bubble in the 11th and 10th spots. Before the day began, the most adored marquee names had all disappeared. At the close of the WSOP’s summer season, PokerStars’ pros were out of the hunt. And, word was trickling out that PokerStars’ top brass were occupied with more far reaching matters on the WSOP’s last day of summer play.
Is There A Real Deal In The Cards?
There was still no official announcement on the anticipated deal that would turn over to PokerStars the assets of Full Tilt Poker (“FTP”) and no word on the concrete basis on which to believe that Full Tilt customers were about to see repayment of their locked up funds.
by Haley Hintze
DELAWARE APPROVES ONLINE POKER AMID GAMBLING EXPANSION
A broad-based expansion of gambling opportunities was signed into law by Delaware Governor Jack Markell one day after Delaware’s state Senate passed a House bill authorizing several forms of online gambling, including online poker. Online casino games and NFL parlay betting were also included in the bill, which will call for residents to purchase deposit vouchers from authorized state sales agents once various online network pieces are up and running.
THREE MONTHS FOR BLACK FRIDAY’S THREE MONTHS FOR BLACK FRIDAY’S CAMPOS CAMPOS
WSOP Puts Poker Stars, Full Tilt & Epic Poker League in the Shadows; Phil Ivey Signs on For the Big OneJune 20, 2012 - 10:26am
By: Wendeen H. Eolis
Phil Ivey Signs on For the Big One
Phil Ivey the most worshipped poker star will take a seat in the upcoming million dollar buy-in tournament at the 43rd Annual World Series of Poker that is now well underway at the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. No longer battling with his Full Tilt alma mater, far from the embrace of Isai Scheinberg and PokerStars when outside the US, and oblivious to the short–lived Epic Poker League, Ivey is back in his element after a two year sabbatical at the richest and most prestigious poker tournament in the world.
Nevada Commission approves Bally’s for Online Licensing
The first corporate entity to clear a questioning hearing before Nevada’s State Gaming Control Board as it seeks licensure to do online-poker business in Nevada is established gaming manufacturer, Bally’s. Bally’s, which acquired online network, ChiliGaming, in April, has already rolled out a free-play poker site for downtown Vegas’ Golden Nugget casino. A real-money Golden Nugget online poker site is likely to be one of the first offerings, provided to Nevada residents, several months down the road.
Illinois Casino measure passes assembly, Faces Threatened Veto
by Wendeen H. Eolis
No sooner than Laurent Tapie hit the send button on an email to employees of Pocket Kings (a Full Tilt Poker company) explaining that discussions to acquire FTP had gone down in flames, word began to spread like wildfire of another suitor for the online poker site—FTP’s longtime arch rival, PokerStars.
Tapie Deal Goes South
As previously reported, Tapie’s repayment plan to refund non U.S. “Rest Of World” (ROW) customers was a bone of contention in Group Bernard Tapie’s negotiations with the DOJ during the past few months.
by Wendeen H. Eolis
No sooner than Group Bernard Tapie announced its failure to acquire the Full Tilt brand--after months of up and down negotiations with the United States Department of Justice--word spread across the internet of another suitor for the online site, its arch rival Poker Stars.
As previously detailed, first, in Poker Player Newspaper, the credibility and timeliness of Tapie's repayment plan to refund ROW customers became a bone of contention in its negotiations with the DOJ during the past few months.
According to Behn Dayanmim, however, the DOJ did not show its hand--other negotiations in progress--while pushing Tapie to make full repayment of foreign "ROW" player account balances faster than desired by the company. In early April--at the eleventh hour, the DOJ brought down the hammer on Tapie's recalcitrance in ponying up full refunds to all ROW players-- within ninety days of consummation of the acquisition.
Dayanim was plainly annoyed by the DOJ's sudden hard-nosed position on the timing of refunds to players, explaining, "Most former FTP customers would have seen their monies fully refunded almost immediately." On questioning, Dayanim acknowledged "Players with larger balances would likely not have received full repayment for an extended period." Could it have been more than two years? Dayanim said, "Yes."
"The timetable for repayment of ROW funds had been a critical of concern to the DOJ for months," say lawyers familiar with with the wrangling over this point between Tapie and DOJ. "Tapie ultimately showed its colors when push came to shove," according to one lawyer close to multiple protagonists involved in the final weeks of the deal making process.
by Haley Hintze
NEW JERSEY ONLINE-POKER BILL NEW JERSEY ONLINE-POKER BILL CLEARS COMMITTEE
A reworked online-poker bill is back on the legislative agenda for New Jersey politicians, and the latest edition recently cleared New Jersey’s Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee by a 12-0 vote. The bill joins numerous measures up for general budget debate, and will face votes before New Jersey’s full House and Senate before moving on to a possible signing by Gov. Chris Christie, who vetoed an earlier measure. The latest bill is sponsored by state Senators Raymond Lesniak and James Whelan, who fronted earlier attempts to expand gambling in the state.
THIRTY CONFIRMED FOR WSOP’S BIG ONE FOR ONEDROP
by George “The Engineer” Epstein
Wendeen Eolis’ fascinating feature, “Who Says Poker is Skill?” (March 12 issue) drew me to her primary reference source: The Fordham Intellectual Property, Media, and Entertainment Law Journal article by Bennett M. Liebman, entitled, “Poker Flops Under New York Law” (2006, Vol. 17, Issue 1, Article 1). Liebman thoroughly researched the skill vs. chance legal issues used in defining whether poker should be considered a form of gambling—and hence illegal. Courts have ruled based on varied opinions about the relative importance of skill vs. chance (luck), or whether money is involved. Most Significant: According to Liebman, the “…courts in New York State have always stated that poker is illegal without giving the matter significant analysis or thought. For a century, the New York Courts have stated that card games, such as poker, are games of chance.” Indeed, legal citation after citation, court rulings, etc., go back and forth on the issue—but, in the final analysis, they often agree that, “Poker should not be legal because it involves chance.”