New Jersey to PokerStars: Fire 4 Executives

Before approving Amaya Gaming and their poker sites – PokerStars and Full Tilt – for licensing, the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) conducted a lengthy investigation. And they recently released their massive 89-page report on PokerStars. According to the report, the key to Stars getting licensed is the fact that Amaya now owns them, as opposed to the Scheinberg family. Another interesting revelation is that Amaya is being told to fire four executives that link PokerStars with the old ownership group. This being said, let’s discuss who’s getting fired and what else the report contains.

Here are the Four Execs whom PokerStars must fire

Given that Stars violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) from 2006 to ’11, one of New Jersey’s conditions is that Amaya completely separates from old management. And while most of this condition has been satisfied, there are still four men who remain from the old PokerStars regime: interim PokerStars CEO Michael Hazel, former CFO Israel Rosenthal, director of operations Charles Fabian, and former head of games development Serge Bourenkov. Here’s more on the matter from the report:

“After careful review of all the evidence and the application of those facts to the post UIGEA suitability standard discussed above, the Division determined that four senior executives who remain with an Amaya subsidiary after the acquisition are not able to establish their good character, honesty and integrity as required by the Act because they were involved in the management or control of companies that violated UIGEA, or had responsibilities related to payment processing, providing legal advice, marketing, compliance, audit or operations at those companies. Consequently, each of those individuals must be separated from any employment relationship with Amaya and its subsidiaries if transactional waivers are to be issued.”

Isai Scheinberg, Chris Ferguson, Others cannot be involved with Amaya

It should be little surprise that New Jersey doesn’t want some of the biggest figures from PokerStars’ and Full Tilt’s past involved in the picture. So guys like Isai Scheinberg and his son, Mark, along with Full Tilt’s Chris Ferguson and Ray Bitar, cannot have any involvement with Amaya’s operation. Here’s what the report states on who can’t be employees of Stars or FT:

“Amaya and any of its subsidiaries and affiliated entities shall not permit Isai Scheinberg, Mark Scheinberg, Pinhas Schapira, Yehuda Nir, Paul Telford, Paul Tate, Nelson Burtnick, Ray Bitar, Rafael Furst, or Chris Ferguson to serve or act as an owner, director, officer, shareholder, security holder, financial source, lender, employee, consultant, lobbyist, intermediary, independent contractor, advisor, agent, or representative of Amaya or its subsidiaries and affiliated entities, in any capacity, whether directly or indirectly, whether by formal contract or by informal arrangement, without prior written approval of the Division.”

New Jersey is Largely Happy with Amaya

After looking over 45,000 pages worth of documents, the DGE seems pretty satisfied with Amaya in charge of PokerStars and Full Tilt. They cite how Stars violated the UIGEA for six years, before Amaya purchased the company and the old management was largely distanced from both poker sites. Here’s a good summary of the conclusion that the DGE came to:

“While the PokerStars entities operated in violation of the law between 2006 and 2011, a number of considerations – including the severe criminal and civil sanctions imposed by the federal government, the complete and irrevocable separation of the previous owners and almost all of the former executives, the acquisition of the assets by Amaya and their incorporation into a robust compliance and control environment, as well as significant changes in the Internet gaming market since 2011– lead to a finding of suitability.

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