Stop us if you’ve heard this one before, but the deal for Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT) to acquire the assets/carcass of Full Tilt Poker (FTP) is expected to be completed “before the end of next week.” The joyous news was independently reported by both Gaming Intelligence and eGaming Review, with the latter quoting “sources close to the matter” saying GBT fils Laurent Tapie was already recruiting staff to run his new toy. Laurent was said to be “in the throngs [throes, surely] of closing the deal” and had secured the help of an external investor.
It’s not known whether this unidentified investor is the same one cited in last week’s unverified report by the iGaming Post, which claimed an (again) unnamed UK private equity firm had stepped up with an offer of $30-35m to purchase FTP’s much loved software, if such a thing could be acquired without having to bother with all that pesky baggage such as refunding players’ balances and stuff.
Anyway, Laurent reportedly claimed that he would need four weeks in which to effect a re-boot of the disgraced online poker room. However, undetermined “interim legal issues” would mean that the four-week window wouldn’t start immediately upon completion of the deal. So, let’s see… one and a half weeks until the acquisition is complete, add four weeks to re-launch, multiply by x (where x = the interim legal issues), carry the one, and… huh? The twelfth of never? Stupid metric system…
It recently came to light that former Team Full Tilt pro Erick Lindgren has displayed a rather casual attitude towards repaying $100k he owes some fantasy football league players (unrelated to the debts he allegedly owes FTP). Certain chat logs were posted to the 2+2 poker forums, and the talk got sufficiently caustic to the point where Lindgren’s significant other tweeted the following: “Just saw a thread on 2+2 about my man’s gambling debts. Don’t worry everyone – I just sent him to pick up $20 worth of lotto tix. #chillout” We’re sure the wife thought this was the height of wit, but the reaction from people who may actually need that money to pay their bills prompted her to delete the Marie Antoinette-inspired tweet shortly after posting it.
The Lindgrens’ public missteps underscore the downside to pro player endorsements. It’s great when the guy wearing your brand is raising his arms in triumph at the World Series of Poker. It’s not so great when he (or those close to him) appears to be thumbing his nose at your potential customers. It doesn’t even have to be vindictive actions that get your brand in hot water. Just last week, Foxy Bingo had to strip former X Factor runner-up Stacey Solomon of their Mum of the Year title – and remove her from the running for the 2012 title – because she was caught smoking while the seven month old fetus inside her belly held the ashtray. Attention poker companies: it’s 11:30. Do you know where your pros are?