In a stunning move early Wednesday morning (6:30 EST) the Alderney Gambling Control Commission suspended FullTilt’s poker license pending a hearing set in late July. This decision comes more than two months after the United States government shut down operations inside the US at PokerStars and FullTilt. The AGCC’s Executive Director, Andre Wilsenach, suspended five egambling licenses because of issues found during a special investigation of the company.
PokerStars, along with the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, released this statement assuring their players they will remain operational around the world.
It seems the major difference between the two sites is PokerStars operated within the framework of their license while FullTilt did not. While PokerStars has been able to pay back more than $120,000,000 to their American customers (as well as experiencing no delays in processing withdrawals from around the world) FullTilt has been unable to process American payouts. It seems PokerStars followed their licensing agreement by segregating player accounts from operating funds while FullTilt did not. This has left FullTilt cash strapped after a large amount of payment processor seizures and lack of overall play since Black Friday. Players from around the world are now left wondering what will happen to their FullTilt funds.
While the US shutting down poker for FullTilt was a blow, it appears the company perhaps dug their own grave well before then. For a while now FullTilt has been “processing” deposits from players all the while not always being able to collect these funds. This can be attributed to the gray area the sites were forced to operate in once the UIGEA was passed in 2006. There was a rumored $60,000,000 in deposits that actually never cleared FullTilt’s books. Because of this their company was in no way prepared to payout Americans or to even determine who was owed what. At this point the best places for Americans to play remains on the Merge Network, Cake Poker, and at Bodog. Europeans still have plenty of options including the OnGame Network, iPoker, Party Poker, and of course, PokerStars.
Currently there is a hearing set for July 26th with FullTilt’s operations being frozen until that point. However, nothing is set in stone, as FullTilt does not have to do anything. There is a possibility the company folds and just ceases operations all together. No one can be sure what will happen at that point, but there is also a small possibility FullTilt reopens without a license. Unfortunately for FullTilt it is going to be quite difficult to find payment processors willing to work with them. One major processor, Moneybookers, has already ceased operations with FullTilt in the wake of these new allegations. FullTilt is also currently being sued by one of their founding fathers, Phil Ivey. Ivey attempted to cut ties with the site just before the 2011 World Series of Poker over Facebook. Ivey is boycotting the series and will not be playing any tournaments until FullTilt releases American funds. Ultimately it appears that will be a long time coming.
Be sure to stay tuned to FlopTurnRiver for breaking news on FullTilt’s license, Black Friday, the Phil Ivey lawsuit, and any and all information pertaining to poker legislation.