Bitar Avoids Further Jail Time In Full Tilt Poker Case
The cases involving former online gambling executives who were indicted back in 2011 in the US are slowly coming to an end. On Monday, it was Full Tilt Poker founder Raymond Bitar that took his turn to go before a judge and make a plea.
Bitar pleaded guilty to counts against him on Monday in Manhattan federal court. The Full Tilt founder appeared in the court via a video conference, and made his plea from California. Prosecutors alleged that Bitar was seeking to grow his Full Tilt business even after the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was put in place.
The guilty plea will not come with any additional jail time for Bitar, who was sentenced to time served. He also was ordered to pay $40 million in the case. His lawyer told the judge that Bitar was now going on a waiting list for a heart donor.
Full Tilt became one of the most popular online poker sites for US players over the past decade. Along with PokerStars, millions of Americans had money in accounts at the two sites, and when the pair, along with Absolute Poker, were indicted, the government made it a priority that the players get paid.
PokerStars complied immediately, and has settled their case with the US. In light of several states regulating online gambling over the past few months, PokerStars has positioned itself, through partnerships, to re-enter the US market once the market opened up. Nevada and New Jersey both hope to have online casinos operational by the Fall.
Bitar was accused of taking money from customers and using that money to build his Full Tilt business. The alleged Ponzi scheme brought in hundreds of millions of dollars for Bitar and his partners in the company. The company processing the transactions for Full Tilt was also indicted in the 2011 case.
Since the case began, the landscape has drastically changed with the US Internet gambling industry. In addition to Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, dozens of other states, along with the federal government, have all shown an interest in passing online gambling regulation laws.