Thursday, July 18, 2013

Full Tilt Claims Administrator Draws Players' Ire

Speaking of Full Tilt, there's news about the company from the viewpoint of American players as well, who have now waited over 27 months since Black Friday to be reunited with the contents of their Full Tilt Poker bankrolls.  The latest is a call by government-appointed claims administrator Garden City Group for votes as "Best Claims Administrator," which thoroughly pissed off a handful of poker players who saw the GCG Tweet, since regarding Full Tilt, GCG hasn't administrated anything yet.

If nothing else, this provides an answer to a generally unasked "Who knew?"  The rest of that question is, "Who knew that somebody actually gives an award for 'Best Claims Administrator'?"

The answer, just for trivia's sake, is The New York Law Journal, as you can see at right.

While the money to remit to these players has been in the possession of the Department of Justice's coffers for over a year, courtesy of the mega-settlement between the DOJ and PokerStars through which Stars acquired Full Tilt's remaining assets, the process of actually getting that money back to former US Full Tilt players continues moving at a snail's pace, if it all.

Affected players who have not registered yet with GCG are encouraged to do so, along with bookmarking the site where more information is supposed to appear.  Updates have been very minimal since the announcement of GCG's appointment in March, with the only information being a somewhat cryptic announcement about calculating a refund formula:

GCG recently received data from Full Tilt Poker with respect to United States players. GCG is reviewing the data with the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (the "USAO") and the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the United States Department of Justice (the "DOJ") to ensure that it is interpreted accurately and to develop an appropriate calculation formula for payments. The data is extensive and it will take some time to complete the review.

Exactly what "formula" the Department of Justice decides upon remains the subject of some debate, with the options ranging from existing balances as of Black Friday to an across-the-board percentage of initial deposits.  While the remission of existing balances is not only far more logical, it has existing legal precedent, since PokerStars was approved to do just that with its former US players in the weeks after Black Friday.

One argument tossed into the mix by those seeking refunds connected to original deposits is that in authorizing it, the Justice Department might be tacitly authorizing the previous online poker activity.  That seems even less likely to be a major concern in the wake of Attorney General Eric Holder's opinion that the Wire Act applied only to sportsbetting (and not to online poker), but this is the government we're talking about, folks.  So expect something soon from the DOJ and GCG, "soon" meaning some time before 2019.

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