Thousands of Full Tilt Poker patrons are still waiting to collect their account balances stemming from the network’s 2011 collapse, but the Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section (AFMLS) has reportedly approved the next batch of restitutions, the seventh such wave of payments.
According to John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the payout will make some 2,000 petitioners whole and total $5.7 million in distributions.
“The remission has been approved,” Pappas said on PocketFives.
The process will take about two weeks for the AMFLS to transfer funds to the Garden City Group (GCG), the settlement and bankruptcy processor charged with handling the claims. Once received, GCG will deliver the monies to the proper claimants.
Though former Full Tilt players have been waiting for four years to recoup their funds, the remission announcement is yet more good press for the platform now owned by Amaya.
On the heels of New Jersey approving the licensing application for Full Tilt and its sister PokerStars, the world’s most successful iPoker network, the news that more than 90 percent of all petitions filed have been fulfilled is unquestionably welcomed by state regulators and players alike.
The vast majority were paid on February 28th, 2014, dubbed “Green Friday” by users victimized by the DOJ’s seizing of the platforms on April 15, 2011, online poker’s “Black Friday.”
The seventh round of refunds will leave 3,800 petitions unresolved per Pappas’ math. Most of the remaining claims are recent filings and ongoing cases whose validity is still yet to be verified.
History Won’t Repeat
Those new to online poker, perhaps stemming from the headlines surrounding New Jersey approving PokerStars and Full Tilt, have little to worry about in regards to history repeating itself.
Back in the 2000s, Internet poker was an unregulated industry being operated by offshore networks that had little to no oversight by federal authorities in the United States.
When a Manhattan grand jury indicted former owners Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson for gambling violations and money laundering laws, the site’s assets were confiscated by the DOJ.
Full Tilt is now owned by Amaya, a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq exchange and partnered with land-based Resorts Casino in Atlantic City. New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) performed a lengthy and thorough review of both iPoker networks before finally approving them for play.
That intense scrutiny will only continue as Amaya/Resorts will be monitored by DGE officials and will be required to post monthly revenue earnings. More importantly, online gambling networks in the Garden State don’t actually possess players’ monies.
Instead, the platform must “maintain a New Jersey bank account separate from all other operating accounts to ensure the security of funds held in patron Internet gaming accounts.” Jersey’s iGaming regulations also require each licensee to “periodically submit to the Division a copy of the bank statement” to confirm patron funds are being protected.
Just one of the many reasons players are excited to have Full Tilt and PokerStars back on US soil.