The mysterious Canadian founder of PokerStars

Have you ever played casino games at Vegas Palms? This pastime is considered to be very controversial, especially in places like the United States. In fact, it’s safe to say that this industry has been through its share of upheaval – one only has to look at the story of PokerStars.com to see.

Interested in learning more? Keep reading for a look at the reclusive Canadian founder of PokerStars.

It wasn’t that long ago, on a yacht in the Mediterranean Sea, that a reclusive Canadian and an American Casino leader met to discuss joining forces. Together this powerful couple would join forces and begin the push to , it would begin to push for better gambling laws in the United States.

Isai Scheinberg, one of the founders of the popular gambling site Pokerstars.com, was aware that a large portion of his revenue stemmed from American customers, where this type of gaming is illegal. Always forward thinking, Mr. Scheinberg felt that if he pushed the envelope, he might be able to legalize online gambling in this huge market. But, before he began his journey, the savvy entrepreneur wanted to make sure that everything was done right. This was because, at this point in his life, he didn’t want to have to look over his shoulder.

This conversation was recounted by Steve Wynn, the founder of some of the most extravagant casinos in Las Vegas, because Mr. Steinberg is very guarded about his privacy. In fact, Mr. Scheinberg is so adamant about his privacy that he bought a house in Richmond Hill, aToronto suburb, almost 30 years ago, and is still in possession of that property today. But, if you go to his door to ask him any questions about his business, you will get no answer. He seldom returns messages either.

This is perhaps one of the reasons that many have never heard of the Scheinberg family. But, truth be told, they are what can be considered to be a Canadian success story. They are something like the Bronfmans, a Canadian family that made tons of money in the alcohol business during the US prohibition days.  In other words, they were able to take advantage of American laws and use them to their benefit.

Unfortunately, Mr. Scheinberg’s plans to change American gambling laws didn’t work out as expected. In 2011, 11 men that are affiliated with internet gambling, including Mr. Steinberg was charged with violating America gambling laws.

These charges were brought on right around the time that the current leadership of PokerStars, including Mark Scheinberg (Mr. Scheinberg’s son), were becoming more outspoken about their stance on American gambling laws.

When the charges hit, they were so sure of their innocence that they issued a statement on their site that denied any wrongdoing. Although this was a bold stance, if the court system found that they were indeed guilty of illegally obtaining US Dollars, it was possible that the older Mr. Scheinberg cumming could have paid the rest of his life in prison.

This crackdown on online casino owners, like Mr. Scheinberg and others, wasn’t the first time that lawmakers in Washington have tried to control online gambling. But, this prosecution in 2011 was unprecedented. In fact, some said that it was so ambitious, it could be essentially be considered to be a declaration of war against the global casino industry.

The charges resulted in PokerStars losing a lot of money from millions of American customers, a number of TV contracts, as well as a partnership with Wynn Resort. Thankfully, their operations in other jurisdictions like in Canada and Europe, helped this company deal with the US shutdown, although in a diminished form.

What do you think of the Scheinbergs? Do you believe that Mr. Scheinberg should’ve been prosecuted? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, we are very interested in your opinion.

 

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