As the rest of world focused on a pillar of white smoke and the introduction of Francis I, poker people’s attention was being redirected by the news that the Department of Justice had finally found a claims administrator to handle the reimbursement of U.S. players still owed money by FTP, a.k.a. the “Victims of Full Tilt Poker Fraud.” A new website has been launched -- FullTiltPokerClaims.com -- where players are being invited to register to begin receiving email notifications. Kind of like another variety of smoke signal going up, you might say.
After reading those tweets about the new FTP Claims site, I knee-jerkily fired back: “Reading the phrase ‘Full Tilt Poker Claims,’ I can't help but mentally continue with ‘your funds are safe and secure.’”
Hard not to be skeptical after nearly two years of waiting. At least now we will be the ones making the claims.
Getting money back should temper the bitterness somewhat... eventually. But it will be hard ever to think well of FTP. Hell, I just filled out the form to register for the notifications, and I found myself unable to resist feeling just a tad apprehensive as I did.
The site is about as bare bones as it gets. I saw Chris Grove joking yesterday that its old-school design suggests players should expect to be paid back by 1997. The Garden City Group (GCG) of Ohio has been given the task of handling the claims and facilitating the reimbursements. As F-Train points out over on Flushdraw, they have handled a number of other bankruptcy cases and class action settlements over the last quarter-century.
There is a toll-free number to call, an email addy, and a snail mail address, too, via which further questions can be asked. I believe at some point we’ll be getting messages suggesting some kind of timeline (nothing is indicated on the new website), then eventually will be given instructions for filing a petition for remission with GCG. They will check what we send them against what the DOJ says about each petition and only then will a determination be made whether or not the petition will be granted.
This development comes as a consequence of the settlement agreement back in July that saw PokerStars acquiring FTP’s assets while also paying the U.S. government $547 million and handling paying back $184 million to non-U.S. Full Tilt players. That latter settling of accounts with the non-U.S. folks was completed late last year when Full Tilt Poker 2.0 was relaunched.
The juxtaposition of the Pope-related tweets and the FTP-claims ones -- both coming with plenty of jokes and one-liners mixed in -- almost tempts me to draw some sort of comparison. That is to say, to explore and share the cynical feeling I have toward both subjects.
But I’ll resist out of respect for those whose faith is genuine and for whom the Catholic Church imparts much that is constructive, including providing needed meaning to their lives.
Can’t say the same for us poor saps who ever put any faith in the original FTP, though.