The Autorité de Régulation des Jeux En Ligne (ARJEL) has announced the suspension of Full Tilt Poker’s license to operate within French borders.
This news comes as a result of the sudden closure of the FullTiltPoker.fr website last Wednesday. Players have been unable to access their accounts, while the company has remained all but silent. The defunct website has simply stated that their service has halted due to “routine maintenance” or “system updates.”
According to Noah Stephens-Davidowitz of Subject Poker, the unexplained closure of FullTiltPoker.fr is only the tip of the iceberg. After several prior run ins, this latest incident has simply pushed the French regulators over the edge. The suspension notice from ARJEL, says Stephens-Davidowitz, states that the group had “asked Full Tilt Poker to submit a new application for licensing on May 12 to show that French players’ funds were secure. According to ARJEL, FTP’s application, submitted on June 17th, was incomplete. It also cites Full Tilt’s failure to keep its players informed of the situation since the site went down on Wednesday as another reason for the suspension.”
While this is slated to be only a temporary suspension, there are other issues here which may lengthen the company’s poker lockout. Funding quibbles and other such matters must be resolved before French players will be allowed to return to their places at the digital felt.
This is just the latest development in what has become a sordid year for the international gaming giant. 2011 has seen the company’s withdrawal from the United States, numerous lawsuits from former players, and other troubles which have brought them low in the public eye. PokerStars, the organization most frequently compared with Full Tilt, has managed to escape similar public relations nightmares with relatively little backlash. But thanks to a combination of poor communication and the indifferent tone they’ve taken with players, Full Tilt’s corporate image has taken a major beating.