PokerStars Settles Online Gambling Lawsuit For $731 Million & Buys Its Rival To Boot

First there were three online poker companies facing charges of illegal internet gambling, and now there are only two, after the Department of Justice announced it’d brokered a deal worth $731 million in customer reimbursements. To settle the civil charges of money laundering and bank fraud, PokerStars says it will buy out the assets of its rival, Full Tilt and pay the government.

Absolute Poker was the other company hit with the charges last year, and it will forfeit its assets to the government. None of the companies admitted any wrongdoing, reports Reuters, even as Poker Stars pledges to reimburse Full Tilt customers around the world in the next three years with the settlement money it’s paying to the government for that purpose.

There are still criminal charges against the owners and employees of the gaming companies, which will continue.

Last year prosecutors accused the three companies of getting sneaky with regulators and banks in order to get billions of dollars of illegal Internet gambling proceeds processed for players. The payments were allegedly disguised as payments to non-existent online merchants for various products.

Full Tilt was accused of operating a Ponzi scheme of sorts — investigators said it didn’t keep enough money on hand for players to collect winnings and instead used more than $400 million in player funds to pay board members and other owners.

Online poker companies settle with U.S.; two to combine [Reuters]