After what seems like an eternity, it appears that Full Tilt’s U.S. constituency will finally be receiving their winnings paid out. Full Tilt has been the subject of a so-called witch-hunt by the U.S. Department of Justice that saw many of the major online poker card rooms banned from the country’s soil. While Full Tilt has recently been acquired by Pokerstars as part of a massive settlement, the players themselves have yet to see their part of the money.
This has been an ongoing situation for around two years, since the Department of Justice officially banned the online card room in April of 2011. Accusing the company of circumventing U.S. laws by using shady payment processors and attempting to disguise U.S. transactions as overseas ones, the DOJ filed charges and eventually arrested Full Tilt’s owners. To add insult to injury, Full Tilt also saw its operations in the UK being shut down as well, further inconveniencing winning players overseas.
As of this past December, the DOJ had not even selected a company to process the return payments for winning players. With a supporting group called the Poker Players Alliance in their corner, players have been championing their rights to have easy access to funds for months with still no actual money being deposited into their bank accounts.
Finally, just this past month, a payment processor has been announced and Full Tilt has also announced that payments will be dispersed “soon.” The Garden City Group, hired by the U.S. Department of Justice will be making claims available at FullTiltPokerClaims.com. Claims for funds will be made via electronic notification, however the feature has not gone live yet on the website.
We are sincerely hoping that players receive their entire account balances, as anything less would be thievery. As a reputable online card room, Pokerstars, who acquired Full Tilt as part of an agreement to make good on the payouts for their players, must uphold their end of this agreement. Otherwise, the backlash the global card room might face from angry players could seriously outweigh the few hundred thousand dollars that are mere drops in a bucket for the multi-billion dollar gambling entity.
While things have been moving extremely slowly, it is a very good sign that an actual vendor for payment processing has been announced, as this is a sure step in the right direction.