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Second Wave of Full Tilt Poker Refunds Issued to US Players

On Tuesday, Full Tilt Poker remission claims administrator Garden City Group announced that a second wave of electronic ACH (Automated Clearing House) payments had been sent former United States player of the original site, which ceased operation shortly after 2011’s online-poker “Black Friday.”

full-tilt-logoAccording to a brief update published a few hours ago, the Ohio based Garden City Group “issued approximately 2,200 payments totaling approximately $5 million to Petitioners who timely confirmed their FTP Account Balances online and who were approved for payment in the first round of distributions, but who needed to correct their banking information.”

The 2,200 accounts and roughly $5 million in refunds were added to the more than 27,000 accounts and more than $76 million which were sent out from GCG to waiting American Full Tilters several weeks ago.  Some players reported that Tuesday’s refunds weren’t quite as described by GCG, in that the 2,200 or so refunds from Tuesday were sent only to players whose initial test ACH deposits as sent out from GCG last month failed to clear the ACH system.

A third and even smaller wave, of only a few hundred more accounts and about $1 million in total refunds, will be sent out via paper check to former players whose banking account information could not be verified after a second attempt.  Per an advance notice from GCG released in late January, that will complete the first wave of approved payments, totaling approximately 30,000 refund petitions adding up to about $82 million.

From this point, Garden City Group moves on to the more protracted portion of the refund process, two other groups of former United States Full Tilt players whose refunds could not be approved in the initial wave.  Those categories:

  • Players who disputed the balances shown in the Full Tilt system data, usually due to missing and non-received withdrawals during the last several weeks of the original Full Tilt’s operations;
  • Players who were indicated within the Full Tilt administrative records as having some sort of business relationship with the site, whether as an affiliate or a site pro.  Initially, the Department of Justice had declared these players ineligible to receive any refunds, but softened their stance after further examination of the wide range of business relationships entered into by Full Tilt.  Instead, the DOJ and designated remissions administrator GCG plan to withhold any money generated from the players’ business relationships with Full Tilt, while refunding money generated from actual poker play.

The grand total of these two categories of refunds still remains to be seen, both in player count and total dollar amount to eventually be refunded.  The DOJ’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, which is overseeing the FTP refund process, still holds another $70 million or so from its 2012 settlement with PokerStars — which included funds earmarked for Full Tilt refunds to Americans.

That remaining PokerStars settlement money is believed to significantly exceed the amount which will eventually be funded to the remaining categories of players; the remaining settlement money then becomes federal property.

Unfortunately, the wait for the remaining players promises to be a long one, despite the availability of funds.  The DOJ has announced that each of the disputed claims and presumptive business arrangements with Full Tilt will be evaluated on an individual basis, meaning that the saga of Full Tilt refunds is likely to drag on for many more months.  Even at that, the process may not be fully closed eve after the later waves of refunds are issued, depending on legal remedies eventually pursued by players who believe they are entitled to larger refunds than decided on by the DOJ.

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