✖ Following the (I Need) “Therapy Thursday” announcement by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) that it had revoked the gaming licenses held by three Full Tilt Poker (FTP) subsidiaries, the AGCC published a 26-page Determination Notice that explained, in detail, just why it pulled the trigger. In short, FTP was dead broke, and, as the AGCC is trying all too hard to stress, hadn’t been keen on sharing that info with anyone, least of all its own regulatory body.
A report prepared by Dixon Wilson accountants revealed that, between June 28, 2007 and June 20, 2011, FTP-related fund seizures by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) amounted to a staggering $331m. The failure to report each of these “serious incident” seizures within the 48-hour time frame stipulated by the AGCC was cited as FTP’s first strike.
Despite this vast sum of money being covered with liquid nitrogen by Uncle Sam’s frozen fingers, FTP continued to represent and treat the funds as readily available cash on their books. FTP apparently justified this misrepresentation in the misguided/self-deluded belief that these funds were only temporarily beyond their reach (you know, because Uncle Sam’s a couple hundred years old now, and occasionally he forgets to lock his back door, or something). This shortfall meant that FTP had “failed to ensure there are sufficient funds in their accounts to cover their customers’ balances.” Strike two.
Strike three was FTP’s much-maligned policy of crediting players’ deposits without being able to pull the money from the players’ bank accounts, which the AGCC equated with “offering credit to customers” (another no-no). Confronted with this litany of law-breaking on Sept. 27, FTP’s legal representatives had no formal comment to make (but perhaps their meek ‘shit happens’ shrugs were mistakenly recorded as ‘inaudible’ on the transcripts).
✖ The AGCC’s actions provoked the ordinarily tightlipped FTP PR team to issue a statement, in which it chose to focus on the “potential damage done by the Commission and its disregard for our players” by allegedly complicating the alleged discussions with alleged French investors. FTP claims that the mystery investor(s) appeared in person before the AGCC on Sept. 19 to testify as to how well the FTP bailout negotiations were going, and if the AGCC could have just seen the wisdom of giving the negotiators a little more time, things would have been all ‘OMG double rainbows’ again in FTP-ville.
But the AGCC didn’t bite, and FTP claims the license revocation “makes it more difficult to execute the sale of the company and hence repay its players.” So there you have it… It’s all Alderney’s fault. But since gaming licenses aren’t supposed to be transferable, the argument that the AGCC’s actions have negatively affected FTP’s resale value seem a bit desperate. Nonetheless, some irate players have apparently swallowed FTP’s Kool-aid and have started an online petition to get the AGCC stricken from the UK’s ‘white list’ of approved gaming license jurisdictions.
✖ Not wishing to be upstaged, the DoJ released its own statement on Thursday, in which it appeared to offer the hope that at least some of the $331m it seized from FTP over the years might finally work its way back into players’ hands.
At this time, this Office, together with the FBI and other agencies, is attempting to trace, secure and forfeit as much as possible of the funds derived from operation of the fraud committed by Full Tilt Poker and its board members that is alleged in the amended complaint … The return of forfeited funds to victims of the alleged fraud may be possible, but will depend on several factors, including the successful conclusion of the litigation, the amount of funds seized and ordered forfeited by the court, and compliance with other procedures the Department of Justice may eventually establish regarding return of forfeited funds to victims who lost money as a result of the alleged fraudulent conduct. We cannot predict the duration of proceedings in this case, other than to state that they will last for many months at the least. We will apprise victims of the alleged fraud of future developments as appropriate.
Strange days, indeed, when the DoJ appears more likely than FTP to pay players. What will the morrow bring? Depending whom you ask, rumors say that the DoJ will meet with FTP’s alleged investors on Friday or perhaps Monday. (Either way, maybe the DoJ will bring along some of those $16 muffins we’ve heard so much about.) What else can we expect? The launch of DoJpoker.com? The only way to find out is to tune in tomorrow, same time, same channel.