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This Week in Gambling: PokerStars Black Friday guilty plea

1 Apr 2020

Nearly a decade after the U.S. Department of Justice seized popular poker website domains on Black Friday, the founder of PokerStars has plead guilty to gambling charges. What lies ahead and sports betting news from Washington State are also discussed.

PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg pleaded guilty to charges of operating an illegal online gambling business Wednesday afternoon in a New York federal court. The plea comes two months after the 73-year-old duel citizen of Canada and Israel originally surrendered to U.S. authorities. He was released on $1 million bail after initially pleading not guilty to all charges.

On Wednesday, however, he pled guilty to one count of operating an illegal gambling business. Scheinberg is now facing up to five years behind bars. A Representative of Scheinberg said that the other charges were dropped and Scheinberg is excited to move on. With Scheinberg’s admission of guilt, all 11 charged have now entered guilty pleas.

According to the Department of Justice press release, Congress is recommending the maximum penalty. Scheinberg’s punishment will be levied by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan at a later date. Scheinberg and 10 other executives of other major online poker rooms were charged with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling in April 2011 on what the poker world refers to as “Black Friday.”

Scheinberg founded PokerStars in 2001 and continued to operate in the legal grey area that existed in the U.S. after 2006.



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