Following a day of rumours that PokerStars had purchased Full Tilt Poker, the briefest of press announcements was released last night by Eric Hollreiser – Head of PokerStars Corporate Communications.
In an imitation of the lack of news released by Full Tilt Poker over the past thirteen months, Hollreiser´s statement read:-
“We´ve had a lot of enquiries and there´s lots of speculation on the forums, so I just wanted to address the PokerStars chatter. As you know, PokerStars is in settlement discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice. As such settlement discussions are always confidential, we are unable to comment on the rumours. As soon as we have information to share publicly we will do so”.
Is No News Good News?
PokerStars´ announcement was greeted with mixed emotions following the news that Tapie Backed out of the Full Tilt Poker Purchase. The fact that PokerStars did not deny the rumours and confirmed that talks were still ongoing with the U.S. Department of Justice was interpreted as a positive sign although nobody is any the wiser about whether rumours of a $750 million deal are true.
Many players with funds tied up on Full Tilt Poker were happy at the prospect of being repaid by PokerStars in preference to the structure which had been promoted by GBT; however some were concerned about the extension of PokerStars control over the online poker market, the prospect of rakes increasing and the possibility that reward points which had been accrued would be lost.
An Immediate Return to the US for PokerStars?
In addition to the prompt and complete return of player funds, much of the post-announcement speculation concerned whether an agreement with the Department of Justice would signal a prompt return to the US for PokerStars once regulation is approved either federally or by individual states. PokerStars already have a “strategic alliance” in place with Wynn´s Casinos, and any agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice could include an immediate return to the virtual felt in America.
The Department of Justice refused to make any comment in regard to their discussions with PokerStars or the company´s return to the US market.