After Two Years, Full Tilt Remittance Still Not Coming Anytime Soon
If there is anything to be said about the US-based online poker players who held accounts on Full Tilt Poker, it is that they are an incredibly patient group of people. Players who had money on Full Tilt Poker have had those funds frozen for just over two years now, with the money inaccessible to them since April 15, 2011, the day known to poker players as Black Friday.
On that day, the United States government shut down Full Tilt and a handful of other offshore gambling companies that had continued to offer US-facing real money online poker games after 2006. While online poker was not specifically illegal under federal law, that year saw the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which prohibited the processing of certain financial transactions related to gambling.
Firm appointed earlier this year
Earlier this year, the United States Justice Department announced that it had selected Garden City Group, Inc, which has headquarters in both New York and Washington State, to oversee the remittance process, however a date when players might expect to see their accounts returned remains unclear.
Representatives allude to a long wait ahead
Earlier this week a user on the TwoPlusTwo forum posted an email he had received from a representative of Garden City Group, which he claims that he received in reply to repeated attempts to gain information from the company as to when he, and the other players in this same predicament, might expect to receive their refunds.
That email read, in part:
We are working with the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the United States Department of Justice to review the data in the possession of Full Tilt Poker to determine how claims should be calculated. It will still take some time before the claims process begins. Please continue to check the settlement administration website (www.FullTiltPokerClaims.com) for important updates.
Other comments made by the same TwoPlusTwo user, who goes by the handle Schlucky1, revealed that a representative for Garden City Group named Lorrie Stall told him that it could take another one or two years before the remittance process is complete and all players have been refunded.
Company still working on calculations
Apparently part of the reason the process has barely moved since Garden City was appointed nearly three months ago is owing to the fact that the company still has not determined a formula for correctly calculating the refunds due. Complicating matters even further is some $80 million worth of “phantom” deposits that must be removed from the equation.
For its part, Garden City Group pointed out in the publicized email that they are working closely with Full Tilt to figure out “a lot of transactions.” Last summer, Full Tilt was purchased by its former rival, PokerStars, with the latter settling its case with the US government without admitting any wrongdoing. PokerStars relaunched the Full Tilt site in regulated markets outside the US last fall, at which time account holders in those locations were reimbursed.
Will full value of accounts be returned?
On top of the lengthy wait that the so-called victim players have endured to recover their funds, questions remain as to whether or not the full value of the accounts will be returned. There are many who believe that there is little possibility that players will see their full amounts returned, pointing out that the remittance process alone is a costly undertaking.
For now, players are being directed to the remittance information site referenced above (www.fulltiltclaims.com), however that site provides scant information, instead encouraging players to sign up for email updates.
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