An important court ruling has given aggrieved ex Full Tilt Poker (FTP) players in the US an opportunity to file cases against FTP in court. FTP is believed to owe its ex players in the US some $150 million.
On April 15, 2011, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) cracked down on three large online poker rooms—Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and PokerStars, seized their domain names, and indicted key people associated with these companies on multiple counts of bank fraud, illegal gambling, and money laundering. Later, the DoJ amended its civil complaint against FTP to include that the company is actually a Ponzi scheme in the guise of an online poker room and that it has cheated online poker players of millions of dollars.
The DoJ also filed criminal cases and issued arrest warrants for key people associated with FTP. The federal government also filed a civil complaint seeking to force FTP and its chief executive officers to surrender assets allegedly acquired through illegal ways. Owing to all these developments, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC), which had issued licenses to FTP revoked those licenses, forcing FTP to close operations in Europe.
Besides, a group of ex FTP players in the US filed a class action complaint against FTP and various companies and individuals associated with it in June 2011. The case, titled Segal vs. Bitar, had the plaintiffs claiming more than $150 million, which they stated that they had lost in online poker accounts that they could no longer access. According to their allegation, they cannot withdraw their funds despite the fact that the DoJ had not frozen accounts held by individual players. The plaintiffs feel that FTP ought to refund players, particularly because FTP is displaying a message on its website that the FBI had seized its domain name, but has permitted it to continue using it in the US to enable its ex players in the US to withdraw their poker funds.
The defendants of the case sought to dismiss this class action complaint in August. They had argued that the court has no jurisdiction over them and that the allegations made against them were baseless. While New York Southern District Judge Leonard Sand rejected the former argument, he also dismissed the class action suit against most of them. He simultaneously ruled that the case can proceed against some of the defendants, although the plaintiffs will have to modify it.