ONLINE POKER: Lederer settles; N.J. waits on Gov. Christie

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It was a long time coming, but Howard Lederer and Rafe Furst have settled their civil suits with the U.S. Department of Justice. Furst settled by agreeing to forfeit his trust account (the amount in this account was undisclosed), where all of his ownership disbursements were paid, as well as agreeing to pay $150,000 to the DOJ Full Tilt players’ fund. The initial amount that was being sought by the DOJ from Furst was $11.5 million. Part of the agreement was that Furst admitted to no wrongdoing.

Lederer also agreed to terms with the DOJ, also under the condition that he did nothing wrong. The amount the DOJ originally was seeking to get from Lederer was $42.5 million, but his lawyers were able to negotiate a deal well less than that amount. While the total amount of the negotiated deal is unknown, the following information has been confirmed by court documents: Lederer has to pay $1.25 million over the next three years, forfeit one of his Las Vegas homes, pay $440,000 from the sale of a Las Vegas property, forfeit the total proceeds from a prior sale from another property, forfeit a vintage Shelby Cobra automobile along with the entire amount deposited in his Lloyds bank account in the Isle of Man, and a 401k account.

Lederer also agrees not to work for, or hold any position, that allows him to make any money from any Internet gambling business in the United States until the laws change, making these businesses legal in the USA. It will be interesting to see what Chris Ferguson and Ray Bitar, the other Full Tilt execs who still have civil suits pending, do with their cases in the coming months.

NEW JERSEY: As I reported last issue, New Jersey reintroduced the gaming bill to the legislature that had failed to pass earlier in 2012. Since my last article, this bill flew through the Senate with a 33-3 approval vote. It now sits on Gov. Chris Christie’s desk awaiting signature. Four senators, Steve Sweeney, Ray Lesniak, Jim Whelan and Jeff Van Drew, sent a letter to the governor in support of the bill, stating that with all of the economic issues in the state and the loss of jobs and revenue caused by Hurricane Sandy, now is the time to sign this bill. They also told the governor that if New Jersey does not enact this legislation, it will be lagging far behind in this industry and will be leaving money on the table that other states will be getting. If Christie doesn’t sign the bill by Feb. 4, then it will automatically become law.

CALIFORNIA: Last year the California Legislature failed to put into law the bill that was introduced by Sen. Darrel Steinberg, but this year a new bill has been introduced by Sen. Roderick Wright, titled the Internet Gambling Consumer Protection and Public-Private Partnership Act of 2013. This bill is almost the same bill as last year, with a few minor changes. This bill was introduced as what is called an Urgency Statue. This means if the bill gets a two-thirds majority vote, it immediately will become law. A vote on the bill is expected by March.

NEVADA: The Nevada legislature is looking to amend its online poker law to allow other states to use Nevada online operators to run online poker sites for their states, where it’s legal for other states to do so. This would allow Nevada to recognize additional revenue from other state’s online poker players. If this amendment is passed, then states such as Delaware, which recently passed its online legislation, will be able to create interstate agreements with Nevada online operators. The online poker landscape is about to get very interesting.

— Email Joel Gatlin at editor@anteupmagazine.com.