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PokerStars Deals the Cards to Acquire Full Tilt Poker
Wednesday, 10 October 2012 13:37

This is quite a turn up for the books, but we can’t say that anything surprises us in the online poker world. After years of being competitors, PokerStars looks set to acquire what is left of Full Tilt Poker (FTP).

It appears that Groupe Bernard Tapie has announced an acrimonious withdrawal from the FTP deal in terms of its acquisition, and a PokerStars spokesperson declined to confirm a deal. However, it is all over the net that a deal has been struck, and is on the verge of completion. So, the FTP never-ending saga, may perhaps someday come to an end!

The fact that PokerStars is involved in negotiations to acquire FTP would mean that the beleaguered poker website might see an end to its money woes. PokerStars is in a league of its own, and is the only online poker site to survive the Black Friday closures - when the US DOJ cracked down on the industry once and for all. The deal is also apparently designed to end both PokerStars and FTP’s legal woes with the U.S. Department of Justice.

According someone (we don’t know who?) familiar with the matter; under the tenets of the agreement being discussed, the larger company - PokerStars- would pick up the assets of its smaller adversary. This would only be a part of a broader settlement in a civil case brought against the online poker businesses. The DoJ shut down the U.S. web sites of Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars as part of a crackdown of online poker sites.

At this point in time there is no indication of how much PokerStars would be willing to pay for FTP, or what they would be entitled to in the form of assets. Full Tilt Poker has only one thing going for it - the fact that it was once one of the best known online poker brands world-wide. apart from that, it has an extremely tarnished reputation.

FTP also had excellent software as well as a large data-base of existing customers when it was closed down. Bear in mind that most of these customers are highly disgruntled, having been unable to withdraw their funds from the site. This deal could however be just what is needed to allow players to retrieve their funds, and what a good PR exercise this would be for PokerStars? Although approximately $300 million has been credited to players, not a cent of this amount has been paid back. Approximately half of this sum is owed to players in the USA.

A due diligence has been conducted by PokerStars executives at FTP's Dublin, Ireland, offices, and FTP are more optimistic than with the Groupe Bernard Tapie deal, that players will be repaid. Apparently this is their number one goal. The company has made a statement to this effect and has also been involved in settlement discussions with the U.S. DoJ. The terms of any such settlement are obviously strictly confidential, so, we don’t really know what the position is as yet. There was no comment from the DoJ.

 
USA Gambling Industry - Probability Eyes Entry With Envious Eyes
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 14:55

Probability is a mobile gaming company - listed on the London Stock Exchange and like many UK and European-facing online gambling businesses; are involved in preliminary negotiations with potential US joint venture partners. These negotiations are ahead of anticipated changes to online gambling regulations in the USA, if and when they take place. Currently things have not changed at Federal level but are starting to take shape locally.

While many experts in this industry believe forming JV partnerships with potential US partners is the right thing to do currently, others believe they are jumping the gun for a deregulated market place. However, it always pays to have a JV in place in anticipation of expected changes in any regulations. This is how certain businesses get the cream, while the latecomers lag behind and are left to pick up the dregs. Gambling is all about taking a risk, and everything about this business is a risk.

Charles Cohen - Chief Executive Officer of Probability, said that they were excited about prospects opening up in the USA, even on an intrastate basis (local markets). This group owns the LadyLuck and Moobile Games brands, and believes these both present the perfect scenario for the entry of mobile gambling into the USA marketplace. Mobile platforms also enable state authorities to determine location of user and this is a problem for gambling online. What US authorities want is compliance for intrastate online gambling and mobile fits the bill perfectly, because of this factor.

There are nearly 110 million American users of mobile phone apps, the smart-phone is big news in this country, and according to Cohen, the majority of these mobile phones are capable of running mobile games on the probability platform. He also said that the company intends to pursue any and all opportunities presented in this developing online gambling market. There are a number of interested parties in the USA who are keen to explore their options.

Today more online gamblers than ever before are exploring the mobile gaming genre, they are a breed of their own and are contributing massively to growth in this industry. Virtually all UK online gambling brands which offer mobile services are showing incredible results, with sport betting being one of the biggest growth sectors. As more gamblers play games on the go, Probability has seen their revenues hit record highs. Across the board gaming increased by 27% to close to £1.9 million between October and December of 2011, while deposits by customers increased by 48%. On Christmas Eve 2011, close to a cool £1 million was wagered.

They launched a television ad campaign last year in a in a bid to attract new custom, and this has paid off big time. Probability was also involved with talks with massive UK brand William Hill, and although these talks did not bear fruit, it certainly got them attention on the stock exchange and a share price which benefitted from the attention.

 
PokerStars - Where the Poker Legends Compete
Wednesday, 28 March 2012 13:24

PokerStars has come a long way since the events of Black Friday – 15th April 2011. Unlike FullTilt, Absolute and UltimateBet Poker sites which were also closed down by the Department of Justice in the USA. Although they are a privately owned company, this website has rested on their laurels, paid back US and other members what they were owed and continued plying their trade. The fact that the brand was never closed down in France, and has gone on to become a new Belgian licensee tells us volumes about the product.

Besides being the largest online poker brand globally, and the online poker home to millions, one of the strangest things about this massive online operator is that they have never gone public. The events of Black Friday left an opening for public online poker companies to ply their trade under the auspices of being “better than” non listed brands. However, this does not appear to phase PokerStars and they genuinely continue to grow, under no pall from the fallout of April 15th. Despite the fact that PokerStars principal officers have been indicted under the same or similar charges as all the other sites offering services to USA players, that were closed down on the same day.

There are more registered members from countries across the entire world, playing at this online poker site, than at any other poker site. They offer all types of poker tournaments, both online and off, and a massive selection of game varieties running non-stop. This caters for every possible type of player, and offers all levels of player the opportunity to fine tune their game, as well as win big. The liquidity of this site is driven by the massive membership, and Members get to take advantage of huge prize pools because of this liquidity. It’s a win-win situation.

While marketers are encouraging online poker players to stick to more conventional brands – in other words listed brands that are more answerable to both country and company law, PokerStars has yet to let us down in any way. This is the site where the poker legends play, and where Isildur1 first felt confident enough to reveal his true identity. They offer millions of dollars worth of prizes each week as well as lots more incentives for real money players, but this site has something different about them – something more than just being a rewarding playing experience. Unlike all the rest, they have poker magic.

So, marketers who tell us that playing with listed online poker brands such as 888.com and Party Poker, are not doing a bad thing by suggesting your money may be safer. But what is poker all about if it is not about taking risks? The riskier a poker game is, the more rewarding it can be. But when you play with a tried and tested as well as consistently growing brand, this allows the best of all possible worlds. PokerStars is certainly the best of the online poker world.

 
Online Poker - FTP: Chris Ferguson Takes a Stand
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 15:13

The United States Department of Justice federal attorney - Preet Bharara - has accused FTP (Full Tilt Poker) of being a Global Ponzi Scheme, cheating online poker players out of millions of dollars, and indicted them on fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling charges. He has also said that they are linked to organized crime, that Executive officers used player funds to support their own lavish lifestyles; and have lied to the public regarding the security of funds deposited.

We all know that FTP has been unable to pay back players to the tune of $300 million. But according to court motions filed, two of the accounts seized by the DoJ on Black Friday are worth a total of nearly $300, million.

Chris Ferguson - founder member of the beleaguered online poker site has now taken a stand, and filed a number of motions with the Southern District of New York Courts - claiming that FTP associated company's have rights to these funds. One motion claims that Kolyma and Vantage has the rights to a sum of $98,276,540 in several bank accounts. While another claims that Pocket Kings Ltd. and Tiltware LLC as the defendants, has rights to funds in various bank accounts totaling $196,553,080. It looks pretty obvious to us, why FTP could not pay back members money?! Apparently there are also funds in 11 seized Irish Bank accounts, although no specific amount has been mentioned.

These documents support the filings submitted by Ray Bitar back in September, citing the same laws. The affidavit bears Fergusons signature and states:"As an authorized agent of claimant Filco Ltd., I Chris Fergusson, hereby verify that the foregoing facts are true and correct and made under penalty of perjury." So, he finally fighting back, up until this time; this online poker multi-millionaire and live poker player extraordinaire has been extremely tight lipped about the depth of his involvement.

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