Canadian PokerStars Founder Among Those ChargePublished May 1, 2011 by OCR Editor
Isai Scheinberg thought UIGEA was a bluff, but he turned out to be wrong.
When 11 senior online gaming officials were indicted by US prosecutors on April 15 over illegal gambling and other charges, among them was the Canadian founder of PokerStars, Isai Scheinberg. Now, thanks to reports in Forbes and The Globe and Mail, we have a better picture of this very private individual.Scheinberg in Profile
Scheinberg, 64, has kept out of the media spotlight since joining forces with Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn to push for more favorable US gambling laws, but according to Wynn, he never wanted trouble with the law, instead pushing for legalization so that his online poker room - the world's biggest - could take advantage of the opportunities presented by the American market.
After working at IBM Canada in the 1990s, Scheinberg founded several companies, including Rational Entertainment Enterprises in 2001, the PokerStars parent now located in the Isle of Man.
His baby quickly grew into the world's largest poker room, and remained in the US market after the passing of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in the United States, which his company viewed as a bluff.Life in Prison?
As the events of what has come to be known as Black Friday have confirmed, it was no bluff, and Scheinberg and 10 others, including the chief of rival website Full Tilt Poker, face possible long-term prison sentences over charges of illegal gambling, money laundering, and bank fraud.
Prosecutors seized the PokerStars and Full Tilt domains as part of their crackdown, as well as the domain of a smaller Canadian-based poker room, Absolute Poker. However, PokerStars on Wednesday began allowing American players to withdraw money from their accounts after striking an agreement with the federal government to return its dot-com domain.