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DOJ Reaches Agreement with Full Tilt and PokerStars

Earlier today, the Department of Justice issued a press release announcing domain-name use agreements entered into with Full Tilt and PokerStars.  Read the respective agreements here and here.  The agreements restore access to these two sites to U.S. players only for purposes of facilitating the return of money that was frozen by the DOJ last friday.

This is great news for U.S. poker players who have funds frozen in accounts on these sites.  Although there hasn’t been any guarantee of fund retrieval, the news, at least on the surface, can’t be relatively any better, considering the state of affairs last Friday.  It’s looking much more likely the funds will be returned.

I say “on the surface” because of possible implications from the agreements.  In particular, observe paragraph 4 in each, entitled “Records Preservation.”  Essentially, Full Tilt and PokerStars are required to maintain all records relating to its business in the U.S.  Because the return of player funds will be overseen by a “Monitor” pre-approved by the DOJ, it is clear the DOJ will have access to these records of consumer activity on these sites.  Whether or not the DOJ decides to scrutinize the records or hand them over to the IRS, we probably won’t know for some time.

What’s also particularly interesting from the press release is the loud silence from the third offshore poker company whose domains were seized in the U.S., Absolute Poker.  The DOJ press release indicates that the same agreement offer was extended to Absolute.  I strongly suspect the reasons behind the delay of the agreement or rejection of the offer will emerge within the upcoming days.

All in all, a partial rebound from what my fellow Tweepers describe last friday as: #PokerPanic.

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