The shockwaves of yesterday’s decision by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) to revoke the e-gaming license of Full Tilt Poker continue to be felt across the poker world.
Following the announcement of the decision by the AGCC – where the executive director of the organization, Andre Wilsenach, said that Full Tilt Poker “fundamentally misled (the) AGCC about their operational integrity” – Full Tilt Poker issued a statement that basically put the onus of the future of the company on the head of the AGCC.
In a press release received by PokerStrategy.com entitled “AGCC Deals A Blow To Full Tilt Poker Players As ‘Investor Close To A Deal’ Testimony Is Disregarded,” the public relations department of Full Tilt stated that the AGCC chose to ignore the factor that there was an imminent deal for an investor/buyer for the embattled company. “The Commission announced its decision to revoke three of the four Full Tilt Poker operating licenses, despite the weight of evidence presented at the hearing by Full Tilt Poker of investor interest in acquiring the company,” the statement read. “The Commission’s decision to revoke Full Tilt Poker’s operating licenses makes it more difficult to execute the sale of the company and hence repay its players.”
This flies directly in the face of what the AGCC stated in their announcement of the revocation. “It is important to note that the revocation of FTP’s licenses does not, as has been suggested, prevent a reactivation of the business under new ownership and management,” the AGCC statement read.
The U. S. Department of Justice, through their offices in the Southern District of New York, offered a statement that does seem to offer a lifeline to the players. “In April of 2011, this Office entered into a domain-name use agreement with Full Tilt Poker,” the Department of Justice statement reads. “That agreement, among other things, expressly authorized Full Tilt Poker to return player funds to players. However, as the September 22 amended complaint alleges, Full Tilt Poker did not in fact have player funds on hand to return to players.”
“Instead, the amended complaint alleges that Full Tilt Poker had, among other things, (a) transferred significant amounts of players’ real money deposits to principals of the company, while (b) allowing many players to continue to gamble, and “win” and “lose,” with phantom credits in their player accounts,” the DoJ alleges.
“At this time, this Office, together with the FBI and other agencies, is attempting to trace, secure and forfeit as much as possible of the funds derived from operation of the fraud committed by Full Tilt Poker and its board members that is alleged in the amended complaint,” the Justice Department memo concludes. “The Office is also attempting to obtain and examine the books and records of Full Tilt Poker. Many of those books and records are kept overseas. The return of forfeited funds to victims of the alleged fraud may be possible, but will depend on several factors, including the successful conclusion of the litigation, the amount of funds seized and ordered forfeited by the court, and compliance with other procedures the Department of Justice may eventually establish regarding return of forfeited funds to victims who lost money as a result of the alleged fraudulent conduct.”
The professional poker world has also weighed in on the decision by the AGCC. On Twitter, Kathy Liebert and Doyle Brunson discussed the issue, with Liebert Tweeting, “I have never liked Howard or FTP, but I didn’t think they would ruin their reputations and freedom to steal the money from their depositors.” After Liebert issued another Tweet that said, “I don’t believe all of Team FTP responsible, but they are responsible to return the millions they received,” Brunson chimed in by saying, “Sadly, I agree.”
Other players sounded off about the revocation, with Eugene Todd Tweeting, “Just can’t understand why FTP would let it get to this. They should (have) all got together and worked out a way to start paying back.” Adam Junglen was potentially being optimistic when he Tweeted, “If I ever get my FTP money my family is getting the sickest Christmas ever,” while Brad “Yukon” Booth took a more pessimistic approach in Tweeting, “FTP stands for Filling Their Pockets.”
Even though the revocation of Full Tilt’s license seems to be the endgame, there is still much to be decided with the scandal. Will the company file for bankruptcy or will they find their investor to save the company? Will players be repaid around the world? Will any of the major players in the operation of the company be facing more serious criminal charges? The Full Tilt Poker scandal is a story that should play out well into the coming year.