Over a Year After PokerStars Repays Full Tilt Players, the DoJ Begins
The claims administrator, the Garden City Group has identified around 30,000 accounts where there is no dispute and where claims can be settled immediately – which means within a few weeks.
Jon Pappas of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) announced the news: “Good news. I spoke with AFMLS/DoJ staff today and they informed me that they have approved approximately 30,000 undisputed player claims.”
The result will be good news for those who finally receive their money, but no credit reflects on the USA for the final resolution.
While no one will argue that Full Tilt bosses weren’t running the company incompetently, the true blame for the debacle rests on one man’s ambitions to be President; a refusal by the Department of Justice to follow the law; and the US refusal to abide by its obligations under international treaties.
Republican Senator Bill Frist wanted to run for President, so he inserted the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) into a Port Security Bill at the last possible moment. No senator who voted for the bill had the time to read the UIGEA, and no-one wanted to be tarnished with the brush of being soft on security post 9/11, so the bill became law without any element of democratic scrutiny whatsoever.
The bill made it extremely difficult for poker sites to accept deposits or withdrawals.
Then the DoJ enacted what became as Black Friday, based on an interpretation of the 1964 Wire Act which has now been rescinded, they seized domain names and shut down Full Tilt and PokerStars in the US.
For all of this time, the US was in breach of its obligations under the agreements signed as part of the World Trade Organization treaty – only tiny Antigua has had the courage to face down America for its blatant breaches of its legal obligations which were to allow foreign gambling sites the right to sell their services to US citizens in the same way that General Electric had the right to sell its services to citizens of other countries.
The resulting closure of the online provision of America’s national game – poker – signalled the end of the American dream, as for the first time, thousands of US poker players found themselves having to flee the country in search of freedom in places such as Mexico and Argentina.
Now that at least some of Full Tilt’s former players are being paid, it is time to give a shout out to those few committed companies who have stood up for freedom: Black Chip Poker and Americas Cardroom, Carbon Poker, Juicy Stakes, and Aced Poker. These companies continue to offer poker across the USA.
If you are an American citizen you should know that there is nothing illegal at all about playing your favourite game on any of these sites.
Finally, PokerStars, whose founder Isai Scheinberg remains under indictment by the DoJ, took the risk of buying the disgraced Full Tilt and paid the DoJ $570m to do so. PokerStars paid all of Full Tilt’s players outside the US over a year ago, and revived the brand so that today Full Tilt is completely trustworthy.
If you are one of the lucky players about to receive your money back from Full Tilt, remember that the true source of those funds is PokerStars.
By Matthew Marietta, Rakeback.com Executive Editor