The US Department of Justice (DoJ) appears to have taken a small step, though by no means an insignificant one, in the direction of reimbursing Full Tilt Poker’s US players. Recently, the US Attorney’s Office (USAO) for New York Southern District stated that the DoJ is currently evaluating potential claims administrators.
The USAO had advertised for a claims administrator for Full Tilt Poker in August. The claims administrator would be required to “obtain and evaluate information, such as financial transaction records, from claimants, and analyze information contained in user account records provided in database and other format by Full Tilt Poker.”
Applicants for the post were directed to provide information and proof of experience and expertise while simultaneously revealing any conflict of interest that might prevent them from effectively carrying out their duties as claims administrators.
The US federal government has estimated that Full Tilt Poker owes as many as 1.3 million US poker players as much as $159 million. Recently, the US government signed a settlement deal with PokerStars, as a result of which PokerStars acquired the Full Tilt Poker brand and assets for a total of $731 million. The DoJ is going to use that money to reimburse Full Tilt Poker’s US players. Meanwhile, PokerStars promised to refund Full Tilt Poker’s non US players within a specified deadline.
As a result, players from other parts of the world can now log into their Full Tilt Poker accounts as usual. The online poker room was re-launched a fortnight back, as a result of which Full Tilt Poker’s international players have got back their poker funds. However, US poker players are still waiting for the US government to refund them. Needless to say, the long wait is making players feel frustrated.
Recently, a delegation from the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) met the officers of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Division of the US Department of Justice to discuss the issue of refunding US poker players. After the meeting, John Pappas, executive director of PPA, reported that the meeting was “cordial and productive.” However, he did not have anything much to say.
Obviously, the first step for the US government is to appoint a claims administrator, after which a complex administrative procedure needs to be followed before players can be refunded.
According to USAO’s update of Tuesday, the government will appoint a claims administrator, who is expected to begin working from Jan 2013.