The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has scheduled a Nov. 13 meeting with U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) officials to discuss U.S. player Full Tilt refunds.
Update Nov. 14: The meeting took place, you can read the results here.
At long last, the wheels of progress are slowly moving in favor of U.S. players who have had funds stuck on Full Tilt Poker for more than 1 and 1/2 years. Players in America sat idly by while Full Tilt relaunched one week ago and reimbursed rest-of-world players $184 million. Another $150 million is due to be repaid to U.S. players by the DoJ, but those players are at the mercy of the swiftness — or lack thereof — of the U.S. government.
The PPA will be represented at Tuesday’s meeting by Executive Director John Pappas and former DoJ attorney Marc Zwillinger. According to a post on TwoPlusTwo by PPA board member and Litigation Support Director Patrick Fleming, the PPA has several goals in mind regarding the sit-down with DoJ attoneys. Chief among those goals is for the DoJ to be more communicative with players regarding the progress being made in the remission process.
Following the acquisition of Full Tilt by PokerStars several months ago, the DoJ has been mum on the specific details regarding repayment to U.S. players. This is very frustrating for players, many of whom have substantial amounts of cash tied up on the site. The PPA hopes to make it clear to DoJ officials that for some poker players, this is not just
fun money. A bit more communication by DoJ officials would ease the minds of players.
Other topics presumably to be discussed at the pow-wow include the possibility of the DoJ having inaccurate account histories of players and whether or not players will receive their full account balances. There had been past rumors tossed around that players may only receive the amount they can prove was actually deposited. A Forbes article published just after the acquisition alluded to the fact that the DoJ views online poker as illegal and may be hesitant to pay winnings to players. However, this position seems somewhat ludicrous considering that non-U.S. players have received full reimbursement of funds and that the DoJ allowed PokerStars to pay U.S. players their entire account balances following Black Friday.
The PPA first offered to assist in the remission process back in August, actually suggesting to handle the extensive duties involved in reimbursing U.S. players. And PokerStars was also willing to take on the task, and said so during negotiations to acquire the Full Tilt assets from the DoJ. But the DoJ was adamant about taking control of player reimbursement, which has been rather unsettling for U.S. players. Perhaps after the meeting, it will be better understood why the DoJ insisted on getting involved.
Following the sale of Full Tilt to PokerStars via the DoJ, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said that one purpose of the deal was to
allow us to quickly get significant compensation into victim players’ hands. Ask any U.S. Full Tilt player and just about all will readily tell you that the process has been anything but quick. Yet to be determined is how much the
significant compensation will be.