Confirmed: PokerStars to Discontinue Old Full Tilt Affiliate Deals
As we speculated last time out here at the Flushdraw Blog, PokerStars has followed through on language in its recent communications to players that suggested that previously existing affiliate deals at Full Tilt would not be honored at the new Full Tilt 2.0.
The formal acknowledgement of what existed between the lines in the previous e-mails was confirmed in another e-mail that went out to all affiliates yesterday. All those old FTP affiliate agreements, gone, as can be seen in the following:
As you may be aware, The Rational Group, which operates PokerStars, obtained certain assets of Full Tilt Poker as part of a settlement reached with the US Department of Justice Southern District of New York.
Under the settlement agreement with the Department of Justice, The Rational Group committed to make available for withdrawal the online poker account balances of all non-U.S. players of Full Tilt Poker. FullTiltPoker.com will launch on November 6, and from this date forward non-U.S. players will be able to withdraw their balances, which relate to previous player activity on the site. These funds will be made available for withdrawal out of the Rational Group’s own resources through funds which will be transferred by the Rational Group into segregated bank accounts.
Other than the non-US player balances, The Rational Group did not assume any liabilities of the previous Full Tilt Poker companies and therefore previous contractual agreements that Full Tilt Poker may have had with affiliates were excluded. As such, The Rational Group is not liable and will not pay for any affiliate earnings which may have been due to you under your agreement with any former Full Tilt Poker company.
For those accounts where player funds are commingled with funds derived from affiliate earnings, The Rational Group will only be making the portion of the funds relating to your previous player activity available for withdrawal.
Separately, as we are working around the clock to get the new FullTiltPoker.com site up-and-running by November 6, we are unable to offer an affiliate program for Full Tilt Poker at this time. We do intend to launch a new affiliate program in the first quarter of 2013, under the Rational Group, which will be a joint program with PokerStars. This future program will give you the opportunity to promote and earn from both brands. We look forward to engaging with you on a new partnership going forward.
Full Tilt Poker
Okay, good enough. As we stated last time, PokerStars is likely well within its legal rights to do this, as it purchased the assets of the former Full Tilt, and not its contractual liabilities. However, as pointed out in a blog on the topic, there is one catch.
As detailed by Chris Grove over at Online Poker Report, a complication exists in that Full Tilt made all of its affiliate payments directly into player accounts, leaving it up to the affiliates to actually withdraw the payments from the site, which at that point would be indistinguishable from player profits as they appeared within international banking systems.
It’s all part of the former Full Tilt’s “funny money” games, which were legendary within the industry.
What it means, however, as Grove correctly noted, is that these affiliate payments were commingled into accounts from which most of these affiliates — usually players themselves — also played. That is specifically why this paragraph in the above exists in the manner that it does:
“For those accounts where player funds are commingled with funds derived from affiliate earnings, The Rational Group will only be making the portion of the funds relating to your previous player activity available for withdrawal.”
What this means is that the new Full Tilt, operated by PokerStars, will be doing a preemptive clawback against these affiliate/player online poker accounts. What’s missing from the statement, as Grove also noted, is any sort of statement as to how far back Stars will attempt to extend its claw, but any such attempts going back prior to April, 2011’s “Black Friday” that would seek to attach payments previously made could well be result in legal problems that would lead to an Isle of Man court case.
Nor is there any indication of how many hundreds of thousands or millions would be involved, but it’s a reasonable guess that this will specifically target the “rest of world” affiliate payments due for those few months the old FTP operated fraudulently after Black Friday.