Full Tilt Poker is approaching the end of finally restoring player balances in the United States as a result of the company’s settlement agreement with the Southern District Court of New York.
On Friday, the claims administration handling the case announced the latest round of payments total $2.6 million and will be distributed to approximately 1,180 petitioners. Following the fund allocations, 94 percent of players who have filed appeals disputing their Full Tilt account balances will have been made whole.
The Garden City Group (GCG), a settlement and bankruptcy administration company, is handling the case. Before GCG can approve a petitioner’s application, the US Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section must first authorize the payment.
As part of a deal reached in the federal case “United States v. PokerStars et al.,” Full Tilt agreed to have its assets assumed by the Rational Group, PokerStars’ parent company. A stipulation of the settlement was that Full Tilt would make no admissions of wrongdoing and that PokerStars would pay $731 million to the Department of Justice to fund former Full Tilt players.
Full Tilt will soon merge with PokerStars as the two networks return to the United States iGaming market for the first time since they were seized by federal authorities in April of 2011. One of three states with online gambling, New Jersey will welcome back PokerStars this week as the world’s largest Internet poker room soft launches on Wednesday.
New Jersey, PokerStars, and Full Tilt seem to be a perfect match.
The Garden State is certainly not without its own past legal controversies. Home to such notorious figures as Enoch “Nucky” Johnson of Atlantic City, numerous mob families, and most recently “Bridgegate,” it’s understandable that local officials might be more willing than other states to give a once-corrupt company a second chance.
Delaware iPoker Rebounds
New Jersey’s neighbor to the south has struggled the most when it comes to online poker. Delaware, the nation’s second smallest state, has quickly discovered that adequate player liquidity is a necessity to robust poker.
Though it’s joined pools with Nevada, iPoker revenues continue to struggle.
In January, a time when residents might be more inclined to playing online than visiting one of the state’s three brick-and-mortar gaming destinations, online poker revenues totaled just $26,384. Delaware iPoker generated $88,588 in January of 2014 and $27,695 in 2015.
Though the digital card game’s forecast remains gloomy, it did receive a bit of sunshine in February as poker rake and fees totaled $28,294, a 7.4 percent increase over January. However, compared to February of 2015, the market was actually down 18 percent.
Unfortunately for Delawareans who enjoy competing online, the reality is that the state will continue to hover around the $25-35,000 per month mark unless substantial changes are implemented.
The most likely initiative that could overhaul the iPoker market in Delaware is if state officials could somehow persuade New Jersey to share its player pool. Gaming regulators in Jersey haven’t publicly stated they’re against such unification, but to date no action has been initiated.