After the buzz prior to the World Series of Poker that PokerStars was working with the U. S. Department of Justice to finalize a deal on purchasing Full Tilt Poker, that discussion has since faded into the background with no details forthcoming. Poker professional Matt Glantzbelieves that those talks have hit a roadblock and says that any forthcoming deal is “only hope and nothing more.”
Glantz delves into the issue on his blog, which is reprinted on the CardPlayer Magazinewebsite, by starting out saying, “There would be few things better for the poker community than a successful closure to the disaster that was once known as Full Tilt.” Glantz lists off factors that would bring joy to the poker world – including the money coming back to former Full Tilt customers and an improved atmosphere in live poker rooms – but he sees major problems for any proposed deal between PokerStars and the DoJ.
The first negotiating point – which has been believed to be true across the poker community – is that PokerStars is attempting to avoid any prosecution for its leadership, founder Isai Scheinberg and executive Paul Tate. This is a difficult point as the DoJ has several successful prosecutions (or plea deals) against those charged in the “Black Friday” indictments and currently have former Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar facing his charges. As such, the DoJ isn’t likely to give up on pursuing their criminal cases against PokerStars’ top brass.
The second point made by Glantz is probably the most telling. With any deal discussion, PokerStars is allegedly looking for a way that would allow them to get back into the U. S. online poker market. Glantz believes that the DoJ lacks the ability to do much about that in the factor that there isn’t currently a federal landscape for online poker’s regulation. Although the DoJ could allow them to come back to the U. S. online market in the future, the states currently passing online poker regulation would be the ones who would make a decision on that front and not the federal authorities.
Glantz points out where this part of any proposed deal would potentially fall through. “The current situation is that each of our “gambling” states is one of a major political presence that is mostly controlled by Caesars (Entertainment, formerly Harrah’s),” Glantz writes on his blog. “It would only make smart business sense for Caesars to do whatever it can to block PokerStars at all costs from getting back in the states.”
“They don’t want that formidable competition in the inevitable multi-billion dollar online gaming industry,” Glantz continues. “…they can plainly see the difference between a PokerStars-involved U. S. online market and a non-PokerStars U. S. online market, one (that) Caesars would surely dominate.”
“I try to deal in reality and common sense, not hopes and dreams,” Glantz finishes his blog by saying. “At the time of me writing this, one major shareholder has specifically told me to my face, “It is a done deal with PokerStars and was supposed to be completed last week but had to be pushed back for…blah blah blah.” I hope he is correct. But unfortunately in my mind it is only hope and nothing else.”
Glantz has been correct on the ongoing Full Tilt Poker situation since they were shut down last year. He correctly predicted in February that the deal between Full Tilt and the French investment company Groupe Bernard Tapie would not come to fruition. As we well know, that deal fell apart soon after the one year anniversary of “Black Friday.”
Even though PokerStars has stepped up as a potential suitor, Glantz has some very logical reasoning behind why he believes that this deal won’t go through either. Those thoughts have to be considered by a poker world that is looking for some sense of closure on what has become a rather tawdry affair.