Most players with Full Tilt accounts have now had the chance to recover the funds they may once have feared were lost forever. For most of the world, that money became available soon after PokerStars bought out Full Tilt as a part of their settlement with the US government. For most Americans with money on the site, reimbursements started flowing in earlier this year. But for a few select groups, the status of their account balances was still uncertain.
Now, at least some of these remaining players can rest easier. The Garden City Group (GCG), which is processing payments to Americans with outstanding funds on Full Tilt, has announced that they have received the proper approvals to process refund applications from professional players on the site.
Team Full Tilt Players Not Included
“A professional player is anyone who was designated as a ‘Pro’ in the data supplied by FTP, other than Team Full Tilt,” wrote the official Full Tilt Claims Administrator. “This includes Red Pros, Friends of Full Tilt and other players.”
While the news is certainly welcome to those players who have been waiting for years to recover their funds, there are still a few caveats. These players must file petitions for remission by Wednesday, September 3 in order to be eligible to receive their money back. More importantly, these players can only recover account balances that are related to poker transactions. This means that they will not be able to recover affiliate income, or any compensation given to them by Full Tilt.
Players will, however, be able to recover any money they received in rakeback. Terms dictated by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) made a distinction between these funds, which were essentially discounts or rebates on the amount of rake and tournament fees paid during play, and professional compensation given to players by Full Tilt.
There may be issues in some cases, as it is possible that Full Tilt may have mislabeled rakeback payments as some other form of compensation, such as affiliate payments. Players will have the ability to dispute these funds and explain why they should be considered rakeback payments.
Paper Trail Requested by GCG
Players that had been designated as professionals by Full Tilt were made aware of these decisions in a notice sent out by the GCG on August 4. These players are being asked to disclose any compensation they received from FTP, preferably with evidence that makes it simpler to verify the amounts in question. These players have been asked to file new claims even if they’ve already submitted petitions to the GCG.
So far, about $95 million has been returned to American players who held Full Tilt accounts at the time of Black Friday. This amount could rise significantly if and when professional players have their funds returned. In addition, there are still some players who have disputed their balances in earlier rounds of remission payments; it is unclear when those claims will be settled.
In the aftermath of the indictments against three major poker sites on April 15, 2011 (known as Black Friday in the online poker community), American players with account balances at PokerStars had their account balances quickly returned to them. However, Full Tilt proved unable to reimburse players, eventually leading to the shutdown of the site worldwide. Both sites are now owned by Amaya, which finalized the purchase of parent company Rational Gaming earlier this month.