First Full Tilt Poker Refunds Begin Arriving in US Player Bank Accounts
Thirty-four and a half months after seeing their online poker balances as a result of the United States’ Department of Justice’s “Black Friday” crackdown against several prominent US-facing online poker sites, former US customers of Full Tilt Poker awoke this morning to news that the first wave of electronic refunds had begun showing up in players’ banking accounts.
Numerous players posted social-network confirmations of the refunds’ arrival, in accordance with an update published earlier this week by FTP remissions claims administrator Garden City Group that the refunds would begin to arrive today.
Tweeted Linda Johnson (@FirstLadyPoker), “So happy to get my Full Tilt funds. Thank you @PokerStars! I hope everyone who is owed money gets paid.”
A similar statement came from Daniel “Jungleman” Cates (@junglemandan): “I MUST be dreaming. I got the wire for my FT balance. #Gardencity.”
Jonathan “FatalError” Aguiar (@jonaguiar) even Tweeted the detail line from his ACH bank-wire notification, along with a cryptic question: “ACH CREDIT DOJ POKER STARS POKERPAY ON 02/28 #1 Weeeeee #2 Poker Stars???”
That the payments were still tagged with the “PokerStars” mention, along with “DOJ”, was direct reference to the 2012 deal between the DOJ and the globe’s largest online-poker, the terms of which allowed the refunds to be made. PokerStars forked over about $160 million extra in the settlement to acquire the Full Tilt name and international player database, while the DOJ received an extra settlement amount large enough to pay out what were expected to be the sum of US Full Tilt player claims.
About 30,000 former Full Tilt players and about $80 million in total refunds are expected to be included in this first wave of payments. The payment wave represents about half of the total funds reserved in the deal between the DOJ and PokerStars for US/Full Tilt player refunds, and has been issued to what could be described as “clean” accounts — meaning players who had no complicating business relationships.
Another 9,000 or so players remain subject to individual evaluation because of sponsorship, affiliate or rakeback deals, and if approved for partial or full refunds will receive that money at a later date.
Not all of the pre-approved players will receive their payments today, because that number includes a small percentage of players with changed banking or personal information, which could not be verified in time for the initial refund wave.
According to an update earlier this week from GCG, those players will receive a physically mailed paper check in a couple of weeks. Per GCG, “Please note that if we do not receive updated, complete and accurate information by March 13, 2014, a check will be sent to the mailing address provided with the Petition.”
No timeline has been issued by GCG or the Department of Justice as to when the remaining 9,000 or so US players with disputed account balances can expect a resolution of their claims. FlushDraw will continue monitoring the situation and providing our readers with the latest updates.