During the last few weeks, Garden City Group, who are responsible for the reimbursement of US Full Tilt Poker players’ released two big updates regarding the process.
The first big announcement concerned all players who have a stake in the process. After almost three years, it seems that the whole Full Tilt Poker drama is finally coming to and as the DOJ has finally approved the release of $82 million in funds to eligible players. John Pappas, Executive Director of the PPA, announced that nearly 30,000 players will be reimbursed without any issues. The current deadline for submitting reimbursement claims is March 2nd, 2014.
On the other hand, not all players are eligible to receive their funds. Some claims were filed incorrectly or incompletely, so those players will receive an e-mail explaining the issues with their claim, after which they will have to „complete a Unified Financial Management System Vendor Request Form, which was attached to the email, and return it to GCG within 30 days”. Another issue may come up for those players who have outstanding debts to the US government. Payments to players who fall under this category will be reduced to cover their outstanding debts. However, neither GCG or the DOJ can address the issue of any personal debts. Players who want to receive information on their individual debts “must contact the Treasury Offset Program at (800) 304-3107 or visit www.fms.treas.gov/debt/top.html for additional information”.
The second announcement involved Full Tilt Poker’s affiliates, who originally were not eligible to receive any payments. However, after a meeting between the DOJ and PPA representatives, affiliates are not eligible to receive reimbursements, too, although only money won by playing poker will be returned, while any earning which came affiliate-related activity will not be eligible for reimbursement.
Approximately 8,400 notices were sent out to affiliates with detailed instructions about the reimbursement process. Most of the same eligibility rules that apply for regular players are also applied to affiliates and the deadline for submitting claims is set to March 2nd, 2014.
In July 2012, the United States entered into settlement agreements with Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars. Under the terms of the settlement with Full Tilt Poker, the company agreed to forfeit virtually all of its assets to the United States.
The complaint filed in the lawsuit alleged that “FTP defrauded its players by misrepresenting to the public that player funds held by FTP were safe, secure and available for withdrawal at any time. In reality, the company did not maintain funds sufficient to repay all of its players and instead, utilized player funds to finance more than $400 million in dividend payments to FTP’s owners”.
Under the terms of the settlement with PokerStars, the company agreed, among other things, to forfeit $547 million to the United States and to assume FTP’s liability for the approximately $184 million owed by FTP to foreign players. The PokerStars Settlement also provides that PokerStars will acquire Full Tilt’s forfeited assets from the Government and precludes PokerStars from offering online poker for real money in the United States unless and until it becomes permissible to do so under relevant law.