Founder of Online Poker Site Avoids Jail Time

Published By Mia Gardner : 28 Sep 2020 | Last Updated: 28 Sep 2020

Isai Scheinberg, the founder of the online Poker site PokerStars, has managed to avoid a prison sentence on charges related to contravening The Unlawful Internet Gambling Act (UIGEA). Thanks to a plea deal, the founder has been sentenced to ‘time served’ in conjunction with a $300,000 fine.

Charges Of Fraud And Money Laundering

Charges against Isai Scheinberg, which included money laundering and bank fraud, where dismissed by US District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan who operates on behalf of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The charges were dismissed as part of a plea deal that now sees Scheinberg escaping potential prison time of between 12 and 18 months. The 74-year-old online Poker mogul appeared in the New York court in March of this year.

The charges against Scheinberg where brought forward as part of an indictment filed against PokerStars on Black Friday in 2011. It was alleged at the time that the founder of the online Poker giant knowingly contravened the The Unlawful Internet Gambling Act in the United States. Scheinberg was then extradited from Switzerland, where he moved to in June of 2019, to the United States in January of this year for the trial after a failed appeal.

America’s The Unlawful Internet Gambling Act was introduced back in October of 2006 by the Bush-Cheny administration. The act aims to make it a criminal act for businesses which knowingly accept payments for people involved in illegal online gambling. PokerStars was indicted on this act as part of a 52-page document issued by the Department of Justice. Along with Scheinberg, 10 other PokerStars brands across three companies, namely PokerStars, Absolute and Full Tilt, where indicted at the time. The other 10, which include Scott Tom, Chad Elie, Raymond Bitar, John Campos, Ira Rubin, Brent Beckley, Paul Tate, Ryan Lang, Nelson Burtnick and Bradley Franzen, have all had their trials heard with all executives pleading guilty to misdemeanours or felonies.  

Leader In The Online Poker Industry

In 2011, upon the indictment, PokerStars assumed the debts of Full Tilt Poker, paying out player balances to the tune of $184 million.

The PokerStars brand is known for the role it played in creating a regulated online Poker industry. The online casino giant has a massive reach amongst iGaming players. Some of PokerStars brands have a massive following featuring some of the best titles from well-known gaming studios the world over.

Known as the home of online Poker, PokerStars Casino also offers its players a range of exciting tournaments and games, including Texas Hold'em and Omaha. In addition, PokerStars operates some of the industry’s best online events and Poker tournaments. uses cookies to give the best experience possible. Please read our Cookie Policy for more details