Well, that was a quick turnaround. After complaints about how affiliates were being handled in regards to the reimbursement process for former U.S. Full Tilt Poker players, the Full Tilt Claims Administrator has made adjustments that will benefit the players.
Last year, the Garden City Group (GCG), the company that is handling all the claims for frozen Full Tilt funds, determined that former Full Tilt affiliates would not be eligible to file claims. After discussions with the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the GCG eventually reversed course and said that affiliates could file their petitions. On January 31st of this year, the GCG sent out about 8,400 e-mails to affiliates with instructions of how to submit their petitions.
There was a problem, though. The GCG decided that affiliates would only be allowed to claim funds that were derived from actual poker play, not from their affiliate businesses. That was a reasonable decision, but many affiliates have been finding that the balances the GCG were reporting were severely understating the amount they should be eligible to receive. This is because both regular affiliate business income and rakeback were undifferentiated, both labeled as affiliate income. In reality, though, one was income received by an affiliate and one was income received from an unrelated affiliate. Two different things.
Once again, the PPA was on the case. With help from members of the poker community, the PPA spoke with the U.S. Department of Justice to explain the situation, how rakeback was an “Affiliate to Player” payment, as opposed to a “Full Tilt to Affiliate” payment. As such, the DoJ and the GCG made an adjustment and will allow affiliates to receive funds that were derived from rakeback. The catch is that because the data the GCG got from Full Tilt lumps everything under the “affiliate” umbrella, affiliates will need to provide evidence of what money was from rakeback and what was not. Here is what the GCG posted on its website yesterday:
Affiliate balances shown upon logging into the online filing site were determined by deducting from the account balance all payments labeled as Affiliate payments in the data provided by Full Tilt Poker. The Department of Justice does not consider rakeback an Affiliate payment and will include rakeback payments in approved remission amounts. However, if rakeback was labeled by Full Tilt Poker as an Affiliate payment on a particular account and was therefore deducted from the balance, it is the player’s responsibility to dispute the account balance and provide an explanation differentiating rakeback from Affiliate revenue.
If possible the best way to show the GCG what money is owed is for an affiliate to have a breakdown of the different payments on a spreadsheet, clearly labeling sums that were from rakeback and sums that were from their affiliate business. The less the GCG needs to interpret, the better.