Globe and Mail Intimate Look at PokerStars Founder

Written by:
Patrick Flanigan
Published on:
Apr/22/2011
PokerStars

The Globe and Mail released quite a fascinating look at the man behind PokerStars, Israeli-born (or perhaps Canadian-born) Isai Scheinberg.

PokerStars founder and close to a dozen others were indicted last Friday for money laundering and bank fraud.  PokerStars, the largest online poker room, Full Tilt Poker and UB.com were also indicted.  Violation of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Ace (UIGEA), it turns out, was the least of the crimes Scheinberg is alleged to have committed (that one just comes with a maximum of 5 years compared to the 30 for bank fraud and conspiracy). 

The Globe and Mail quotes something Scheinberg said to Vegas gambling mogul Steve Wynn while on board his yacht. 

From the Globe and Mail:

“Steve, in the American market we have so many customers,” said Isai Scheinberg, the 64-year-old founder of PokerStars.com. He said he wanted nothing more than to make online gambling legit. “It ought to be done right. And I don’t want to look over my shoulder at this point in my life.”

Wynn, for about a week or two, was all set to align his business with PokerStars.  That all changed when the indictments came down.

We get a little look into the private life of Mr. Scheinberg, who many believed truly wanted his industry regulated and – if the charges prevail – seemed prepared to go all-in to make that happen.

Isai Scheinberg is variously described as Canadian or Israeli Canadian. Property records show that he bought a modest house in Richmond Hill, a Toronto suburb, in 1988 and holds onto that $660,000 property today. No one answered when The Globe stopped by twice this week. The Scheinbergs did not return messages left with their international businesses and Washington lobbyists.

In the 1990s, Mr. Scheinberg worked at IBM Canada, where he helped develop a standard known as Unicode. This tool allows computers in, say, Asia to recognize script from Europe and vice versa.

 

The Globe and Mail also spoke to an unnamed former merchant, who claimed to be tricked into processing what he thought were accounts for a “marketing agency giving refunds on [Internet] widgets.”

You can read more of the article here.

 

- Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

 

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