Adding to the problems for the beleaguered company, a second class action lawsuit has been filed against Full Tilt Poker, this time in the country of Canada.
It was revealed yesterday in an article in the Montreal Gazette that a Canadian consumer protection organization has filed the lawsuit on behalf of Canadian poker players. Jeff Orenstein, an attorney for Consumer Law Group, Inc., filed the lawsuit in front of the Superior Court of Quebec in Montreal, which had to be approved by a judge before it could continue. In the suit, Orenstein and CLG are looking to recoup somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 million that the organization says Full Tilt Poker is withholding from Canadian players.
In an official statement on CLG’s website, the organization writes, “The class action involves Full Tilt Poker’s illegal freezing of customers’ money that is kept in their internet poker player’s accounts accessible through the website, fulltiltpoker.com.” The organization goes on to cite the pending legal issues in the United States – with the Department of Justice’s “Black Friday” indictments and seizures of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and the CEREUS Network’s Absolute Poker and UB.com – but says that players in Canada were still allowed to play.
It wasn’t until the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) revoked the Full Tilt gaming license in late June that the issues for Canadians – and the remainder of the world – fully came to being. Once the AGCC shut down Full Tilt on June 29th, there has been no attempt by Full Tilt Poker to either repay international players or to fully explain the delay. A private hearing is scheduled for September 19 between AGCC officials and Full Tilt Poker to reinstate the license and return Full Tilt to the online poker world, but that hearing isn’t set in stone and could be postponed again.
According to the CLG website, “Since that time (June 29), Full Tilt Poker has not permitted Canadian players to make cash out requests, completely denying them access to their own Player Accounts and to their own funds.” The organization is actively looking to add players to the class action, with a segment of their website for players to sign on to the action.
A look at the action reveals that the entirety of the companies, owners and players under the Full Tilt “umbrella,” as the CLG action calls it, are named as respondents. The business entities Tiltware LLC, Pocket Kings, Ltd., Pocket Kings Consulting Ltd., Filco Ltd., Vantage Ltd., Ranston Ltd. and Mail Media Ltd. are named as well as owners Ray Bitar and Nelson Burtnick. Team Full Tilt also comes under the gun, with every full-fledged member of the group – except for Phil Gordon – being named. This includes Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Jennifer Harman, Erick Lindgren, Erik Seidel, Andy Bloch, Mike Matusow, Allen Cunningham and Phil Ivey.
It looks as though the CLG action is targeting particular third party processing accounts from a company that is located in Canada and provided Full Tilt Poker with services. This company, Terricorp, Inc., does business in Canada through the name “TLC Global” and has four accounts at the Royal Bank of Canada and one with the Bendix Foreign Exchange in Toronto. It isn’t stated in the suit, but it is logical that the action is looking for the Court to freeze those accounts for potential payouts to Canadian players.
The Montreal Gazette reports that the original petitioner, identified as “M. Schnurbach,” has a paltry $1 to $5 in his account. Orenstein tells the Gazette, however, that he has already been contacted by one player from Edmonton who is claiming he had $250,000 on Full Tilt Poker and another player who had $10,000. Orenstein believes the average Canadian player probably has much smaller amounts.
The Canadian suit follows on the heels of an American suit of similar nature. In July, a class action suit was filed in the Southern District of New York, seeking repayment of American players’ money. In fact, the Canadian suit bears many similarities with its American version, including the statement of fact that Phil Ivey owned as much as 5% of the company.
As of today, there has been no further information on the American class action suit. With another suit pending in Canadian courts, this can only complicate further the attempts by the ownership of Full Tilt Poker to find investors and/or buyers for the struggling organization and its assets.