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Alexandra Berzon, Gaming Reporter, Wall Street Journal

BY ERIK HELLING -- Pokerstars was one of the biggest of the online poker sites that ran into trouble when the government accused them of money laundering and intercepted their site domains in 2011. But it remains the biggest of the sites and is now planning on getting a casino on the U.S. mainland. So why are they doing it now? And will this secretive company based in the Isle of Man be able to get licensed?

Alexander Berzon, a gaming reporter for Wall Street Journal, recently visited the facility of Pokerstars, which includes the servers that power their online poker website. The company is located on the Isle of man due to the island setting up a regulatory system, as to avoid the legality issue that plagues online gambling in most countries.

“The (online poker) bet is technically taking place on the island, where it is legal, so the bet is technically legal,” said Berzon.

Pokerstars is considered secretive, mostly because of their location on the Isle of Man and their CEO’s lack of online presence. Berzon notes that there are no public pictures of Pokerstars’ CEO, but that is commonplace for online companies like theirs.

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“Pokerstars took the stance that, despite the law and stance of the Federal government, that what they were doing was not illegal. Partly because of their argument that poker is not technically gambling,” said Berzon.

The company is trying to find a state that shows an interest in gambling, and a way to become recognized as an independent casino.

“In some way, Pokerstars is going to have to either be an existing gambling interest or partner with one,” said Berzon.

Pokerstars comeback in America is unclear due to some federal factors that are still in play. So for now, the future of Pokerstars is up in the air.



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