Poker and Politics
More on the Full Tilt Poker Mess
By Dan Cypra
It’s been a busy fall for anxious Full Tilt Poker players who have money locked in what was once the industry’s second largest site. On September 23rd, word broke that the U.S. Department of Justice had called Full Tilt a “global Ponzi scheme” and issued warrants for five bank accounts belonging to Ray Bitar, Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer and Rafe Furst.
The U.S. Government claimed, “Full Tilt was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme. Full Tilt insiders lined their own pockets with funds picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers while blithely lying to both players and the public alike about the safety and security of the money deposited.”
One week later, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, or AGCC, revoked three of Full Tilt Poker’s four operating licenses, essentially leaving the site unable to restart its operations. The AGCC charged, “FTP had fundamentally misled AGCC about their operational integrity by continuously reporting as liquid funds balances that had been covertly seized or restrained by U.S. authorities, or that were otherwise not actually available to the operator. Serious breaches of AGCC regulations include false reporting, unauthorized provision of credit, and failure to report material events.”
Full Tilt Poker responded by calling the revocation of its licenses a “blow to players,” but on September 30th entered into an exclusive acquisition agreement with France’s Groupe Bernard Tapie, which supposedly has experience turning around fledgling companies, most notably the sportswear firm Adidas. Tapie’s agreement includes the repayment of Full Tilt Players and is contingent upon a deal being struck with the DOJ.
The roller-coaster ride for players continued with Group Bernard Tapie Managing Director Laurent Tapie saying that the company plans to preserve Full Tilt Poker’s brand, repay players, and potentially re-launch as soon as January: “The brand is not in question, it’s a well-known brand and the technology is widely recognized as being possibly the best in the industry. The management of the company is being questioned and it will be changed [should the takeover be concluded]. I believe we have the tools necessary to once again make the site one of the leaders in the online poker sector.”
Posters on PocketFives.com have been on the ride of their lives, and we’re confident that even more drama will soon unfold. Visit PocketFives.com for the latest updates on the Full Tilt Poker saga.