The agreement between PokerStars, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and Full Tilt Poker in which PokerStars acquired the assets of Full Tilt and admitted no wrongdoing in the Black Friday indictments of last year has the industry’s top poker site positively looking ahead to entering the U.S. online poker marketplace.
PokerStars’ Head of Corporate Communications, Eric Hollreiser, recently stated to Yogonet.com that he does “fully expect to participate in a future regulated U.S. market.” Industry observers are interested to see how gaming officials in either a state-by-state or federal framework will view the application of PokerStars. Both Full Tilt and PokerStars seemingly ignored the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 that was intended to stop offshore poker sites from catering to U.S. players by prohibiting banks and financial institutions from funding their accounts at the poker sites. But the sites got around the government’s attempt to stop U.S. players from playing online poker by allegedly setting up phony Internet companies making it appear to banks that U.S. customers were spending money at these online companies, when in reality, they were funding player accounts at the online poker sites.
Some sites, such as PartyPoker, willfully removed themselves from servicing American players. But PokerStars and Full Tilt did not, which allowed PokerStars to become the world’s most popular site in terms of player traffic by a wide margin over competing sites and networks. By virtue of the agreement with the DoJ finalized earler this month, Hollreiser believes that PokerStars has redeemed itself and is highly deserving of a place in the U.S. online poker market.
“We are the leading online poker site and licensed in more countries than anyone in the industry,” Hollreiser said. “We bring tremendous value, credibility and integrity to the marketplace. With our U.S. legal issues now resolved, we are a very qualified candidate for a license.”
Whether the claim of high credibility will be echoed by gaming officials in charge of doling out licenses remains to be seen. What will be seen is the large player pool that PokerStars would bring to any international online poker scheme. Its difficult to fathom any licensing body–either on a state or federal level–turning away a poker site that so thoroughly dominates the marketplace. Even if they may have flouted the law in the past.