Absolute Poker agrees to forfeiture in US settlement
Absolute Poker has agreed to forfeit assets in a settlement with the US Department of Justice in exchange for dropping most civil liabilities. This includes: deposited funds, receivables, hardware and intellectual property.
US Attorney Preet Bharara said that assets such as Absolute Poker's player database should be sold soon, or it would "substantially decrease in value". The full list of parties included in the settlement are Absolute Poker, Ultimate Bet, Absolute Entertainment, S.A., Blanca Games, Inc., Hoop & Javelin Holdings Limited, Hoop Payment Solution Services Ltd., and Morning Bliss Overseas Ltd.
Jerry Bernstein, a legal representative for both Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet, seems to be giving some false hope to former customers: "Our hope and expectation is that the proceeds of the forfeiture will be used to repay our players."
Observers say that the assets of both sites are far from enough to repay the players, as they have significantly less value than similar components at Full Tilt Poker. The deal between AP/UB and the DOJ is not considered an admission of culpability, liability or guilt.
French poker decline continues
France's regulated online poker market has given yet another sign of decline. The operators' revenue fell 11% year-to-year in the period of April-June. The market has also seen a drop of 9% in number of active players in the same period. A representative of French regulator ARJEL commented: This decrease in activity, partly seasonal, may also be linked to a form of cannibalization by the Euro 2012 football tournament, which without necessarily having changed poker players to sports bettors, mobilized a large number of French people every evening in front of their television, diverting them from other activities.
Italy, a country that also runs a segregated market, has experienced a decline in online poker activity as well. Just recently regulators from Spain, Italy, France and Portugal have met to promote operational cooperation among other things. One of the discussed subjects was the possibility of an agreement where players from these countries would share the same player pool. These regulators will meet again in December 2012.