Full Tilt Poker’s former US clientele got some good news on Thursday with an announcement from the federally appointed claims administrator saying the process of reuniting players with their long lost account balances will commence “shortly.” The news came from the Garden City Group (GCG), which was appointed to this role by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) that prosecuted FTP, PokerStars and Absolute Poker on April 15, 2011 aka Black Friday. Nearly six months after GCG got the gig, the Full Tilt Poker Claims Administration has completed its review of the player data provided by FTP, theoretically clearing the way for the processing of payouts to commence.
GCG says players will receive emailed instructions on how to complete an online claim. As for how the specific amounts owed to individual players will be determined, the GCG statement says “the calculation formula to be used for the Petition for Remission process will be based on players’ final balances with FTP as of April 15, 2011.” In other words, it appears that GCG won’t attempt the quantum mechanics necessary to factor out those pre-Black Friday ‘phantom’ deposits, in which FTP continued to credit player accounts despite being unable to ‘pull’ the funds from players’ bank accounts due to the US Department of Justice crackdown on online poker ecom.
A year ago this month, PokerStars agreed to pay the SDNY a total of $731m to both acquire the assets of FTP and settle the civil charges Stars was hit with on Black Friday. Of that sum, $184m was intended to make FTP’s former non-US players whole. GCG’s statement says that if the total amount owed to US players is less than the forfeited funds available for distribution, all players will receive their full balance. However, should the total amount owed to players exceed the funds in the remission kitty, the cash will be distributed on a pro rata basis.
Thursday’s news will be welcomed by players, many of whom had been laid low by last month’s rumors that GCG had been dragging its heels and thus players were facing a further wait of up to two years. The full notice, as well as a link to register for email notification, can be found at the FTP Claims Administration website.