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Absolute Poker Forfeits Assets to DOJ, Players Will Receive Pennies on the Dollar

As the poker world pored over the press releases that were hitting the Internet on what is becoming known as “Super Tuesday” an interesting revelation was found in the US Department of Justice press release buried towards the bottom of the statement. Amidst all of the tidbits regarding the sale of Full Tilt Poker to PokerStars and the forfeiture to the DOJ there was a paragraph about Absolute Poker, the third entity that the US government targeted on Black Friday.

In a related matter, the U.S. Attorney’s office also filed a motion requesting that the Court enter a settlement agreement reached with Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet that requires the company to forfeit all of its assets (the “Absolute Assets”) in order to fully resolve this action. The motion also requests that the Government be permitted to liquidate the Absolute Assets, with the net proceeds of that sale to be held pending the resolution of claims filed by other parties who have asserted an ownership interest in the Absolute Assets.”

Unlike Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet (UB) players are likely to only receive pennies on the dollar for their account balances. Earlier reports speculated that this amount would not exceed $.15-$.20, and in my opinion this estimate is on the high side.

Absolute Poker and its sister site UB Poker were among the most beleaguered online poker rooms in the history of the industry, with both sites having gone through insider cheating scandals, but somehow managing to stay in business. As soon as Black Friday occurred the poker world basically wrote off both sites due to their horrid track-record in the industry as well as the revelations that the people widely considered to be responsible for the Super-User cheating were still active in the site’s ownership and executive positions.

The ownership of Absolute Poker has changed hands several times over the years, and this has caused a tremendous amount of confusion as to precisely which company even owns the site (it looks as if AP owners continually created new companies and then purchased the site) with one such company that previously owned Absolute Poker, called Avione, claiming they should be compensated before the players at the site.

According to Christie Smythe of Bloomberg:

Absolute Poker, an Internet gambling website, agreed to forfeit assets in a settlement of U.S. claims that the company conducted illegal online wagering inside the the country.

The forfeiture will include deposited funds, receivables, hardware and intellectual property, according to court papers in the government’s lawsuit filed today in Manhattan federal court.

Assets such as the database of Absolute Poker players are likely to “substantially decrease in value if not sold soon,” according to court papers filed by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office.”

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