UB/AP have now reached an agreement with the US government in which the US Attorney's Office has agreed to provide all necessary assurances that third parties may work with Absolute Poker to facilitate the return of funds, currently held by third party processors, to players located in the US. However many in the know are somewhat skeptical that UB/AP have enough funds to make the payments to all their US based players.
US Attorney Preet Bharara confirmed that an agreement had been struck between the US government and Absolute Poker "Absolute Poker of Costa Rica agreed to return funds owed to U.S. customers and prohibit deposits of American players."
Absolute Poker has not requested the return of their seized domain names in www.absolutepoker.com, www.ultimatebet.com or www.ub.com. Both Pokerstars and FullTilt Poker were returned their .com domain names as part of the deal with the US DOJ.
After nearly a month since the US poker ban known as "Black Friday", FullTilt Poker and UB/Absolute Poker are in the same position since the USA poker room closures in that neither of them offer their gaming services to the US market and both sites have failed to repay their US players their outstanding balances to date.
PokerStars on the other hand seem to be rapidly gaining trust amongst non-US players as they have overcome the payment hurdle, the main reason they could do so is because the player funds are held separately from the main PokerStars account which is enforced by their licensing agreement with the Isle of Man as such PokerStars have already begun paying back the owed money to their former US players.
Winners and Losers since the USA poker ban
FullTilt Poker on the other hand has had nearly a month to return their US players money and still the process has not begun as of yet, even non-US Full Tilt Poker payments are running really late (we are still awaiting payment from the 5th May). To make matters worse the US Department of Justice have seized money from Full Tilt who are now required to prove that those funds belong to their US players to make matters worse Full Tilt does not have the money separated like PokerStars so they really have a huge mess to fix prior to payments being processed, as such Full Tilt are losing the battle for player trust
Many smaller online poker rooms have emerged and are rapidly gaining US players since the closing of the big three sites in the USA, many smaller rooms were not implicated in the current scandal and still allow USA real money players since April 2011, as have some non-US sites like PartyPoker who have seen a 33% increase in new player sign-ups during the closing two weeks of April 2011.
PartyPoker’s run was somewhat dampened by Pokerstars being able to quickly stabilize their funding operation and paying out their US players which has kept their reputation intact. PokerScout .com have reported PokerStars traffic to be down about 26% since Black Friday, not such a bad blow as many would have expected from the world’s largest online poker room.
Let’s all just hope that payments from FullTilt Poker and UB/AP start coming out soon and they get their act together as they are rapidly losing trust amongst the online poker community both in the USA and the rest of the world.
- PokerStars (could have been much worse)
- PartyPoker ( increase in new player sign ups)
- Poker Rooms still allowing USA players for real-money (the likes of UWin Poker, Carbon Poker and CakePoker are loving this closure as they all still remain open)
- Full Tilt Poker
- American Poker players have lost the most from this whole ordeal as it may take years to legislate online poker in the USA that would allow US players to play poker legally once again.