Thursday, September 29, 2011

Full Tilt Poker: Chapter the Last?

Full Tilt Poker, Chapter the LastSo three more items of note today to add to the lengthy, bitter saga of The Decline and Fall of Full Tilt Poker.

First, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission did what some thought they might have done sooner, but all were pretty sure they’d do once the U.S. Department of Justice fired that missile last week that landed squarely on top of the FTP compound. After suspending Full Tilt Poker’s license to operate back in late June, today they revoked it altogether, meaning if FTP ever does somehow rise from the ashes, it’ll have to be under the auspices of a different online gambling regulatory body. Here’s the presser (short, easily digested) and here’s the full report (long, wonky).

Next, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a brief follow-up of sorts to last week’s amendment of the civil complaint in which the subject of the possible return of players’ funds was addressed. The short statement reiterates a few of Full Tilt’s failings -- collectively described as “fraud” here -- then notes how “the return of forfeited funds to victims of the alleged fraud may be possible” (emphasis added) depending on a number of other factors, including how the whole indictment/civil complaint goes, how much money FTP really has left, and whether or not the DOJ meets with “compliance” when it comes to pursuing all of this.

Finally, Full Tilt Poker sent out its own statement, a response to the AGCC’s decision to revoke its license. (Technically, the AGCC revoked three licenses, all belonging to the companies “trading as Full Tilt Poker.”) Again, FTP’s statement came as an “exclusive” to, whom I must imagine is getting paid for being so lucky. The gist there is FTP decrying the decision and casting blame on the AGCC’s ruling as a big ugly fly in the ointment with regard to their negotiations with an apparent investor. Once more, rather than shoulder any blame themselves, FTP sees others as the villains here, describing the AGCC’s decision as evidence of “disregard for our players.”

A lot to consider here, most particularly in the AGCC’s statement and full report in which we learn more about FTP’s misreporting of its finances, further seizures of the company’s funds by the DOJ, and that the AGCC isn’t assuming any responsibility going forward with regard to the matter of players getting their money back. “Unresolved claims by players against FTP become a matter for the police and civil authorities,” says the Commission, since “now that FTP’s licenses have been revoked, AGCC no longer has jurisdiction over these companies.”

Not a lot to suggest the Commission ever really had that much jurisdiction over FTP as it ran amok, but so it goes. Meanwhile, as the AGCC tells players it can’t help ’em, some will no doubt cling to the DOJ’s sliver-of-a-hint-of-a-chance-of-a-promise-of-a-possible-kinda-sorta-maybe hope that they might actually help deliver some of the lost cabbage.

But even there I can’t really get too excited, my cynicism caused by our being caught between the twin doubts of there actually being much money left to recover and the DOJ’s intention ever to give online poker players their due.

Full Tilt ZombieI know, I know... it isn’t really the final chapter. There will be more speculation, promises, “exclusive” statements, and other palpitations further animating Zombie Full Tilt Poker as it continues to lurch forward.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t eventually eat all of our brains.

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Blogger Arron said...

You can get your "FULL GUILT POKER" t-shirt on eBay OCT 5th!!

9/29/2011 7:40 PM  

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