US Full Tilt Poker Players to See Refunds as Early as Next Month
Though it has been nearly three years since US-based players who had funds on Full Tilt Poker when the site was shut down – and its assets seized – by the United States government in April of 2011 have had access to their money, the wait to recover those accounts is now incredibly short.
This week the company charged with overseeing the remissions process, New Jersey-based Garden City Group, released an update on its Full Tilt Poker claims web site, advising that the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the United States Department of Justice has given the go-ahead to the first round of payments.
Players with confirmed balances cleared to receive refunds
Players who submitted their information to Garden City Group during the months-long period during which applications were being accepted should expect to receive their payments by the end of next month, according to the company.
The update on the Full Tilt claims site read in part, “This distribution will include approximately 30,000 Petitions totaling $82 million submitted by Petitioners with timely, complete Petitions, who confirmed their FTP Account Balances. GCG is currently working with the bank selected by the DOJ to set up the payment process.”
Garden City Group has advised that another update will be forthcoming in the next two or three weeks, presumably via the claims site, which has been its primary mode of communication – outside of direct email contact with so-called victim players – throughout the entire remissions process.
Will Full Tilt re-launch in the United States?
While no doubt fans of real money online poker in the United States, particularly those who used Full Tilt Poker before the government shut it down on what has come to be known in the poker world as Black Friday, April 15, 2011, will be happy to find themselves shortly reunited with their account money, many pundits have openly wondered whether or not Full Tilt Poker will be able to make a re-entry into the United States.
In the three years since Black Friday, Internet gambling has been legalized in three states – Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey. The Silver State offers only online poker, as Internet-based casino games are restricted under Nevada law.
By contrast, New Jersey and Delaware both allow residents to play online casino games in addition to real money online poker.
Full Tilt, a room now owned by former rival PokerStars, which used the Full Tilt brand to launch real money casino games in regulated online betting markets outside the United States recently, may not be on the horizon in any of those states.
PokerStars has attempted to gain an operating license in New Jersey, where its application was put on what amounts to a two year hold, with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement suggesting that it would be amenable to revisiting the company’s iGaming application should PokerStars implement significant personnel changes.
One of the main issues is the fact that a founder of the site, Isai Scheinberg, remains under federal indictment. Earlier this month, the DOJ signaled that it would be interested in settling cases that involve Internet gambling charges for large financial penalties.
Should Scheinberg settle his case and PokerStars generally pass muster with New Jersey officials, it might not be out of the question for PokerStars to resurrect the Full Tilt brand in the United States, particularly if it is interested in getting into the business of online casino games in the United States.
Full Tilt has so far proven to be an apt vehicle for such a venture, given the inherent disconnect in using a site called PokerStars to play any game other than, well, poker.
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