The $731 million settlement deal was signed between The Rational Group, parent company of sister poker sites Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, and the US Department of Justice (DoJ) in order to benefit both parties.
The largest online poker room in the world not only acquired Full Tilt Poker, refunded its international customers, and became a hero in the eyes of online poker players as the savior of Full Tilt Poker, but also gained immunity from federal prosecution while admitting to no wrong doing. On its part, the federal government decided to sign this deal for fear of losing the votes of hundreds and thousands of disgruntled US online poker players who lost their poker deposits when major online poker rooms Absolute Poker, Full Tilt Poker, and PokerStars were driven out of the US online poker market.
The Rational Group did all that was required of them. They refunded international poker players and stopped accepting US poker players. But the DoJ delayed for one year and finally hired a company called Garden City Group (GCG) three months back to handle the situation. Relieved US poker players felt that they would soon get back their money, but now it looks like they will have to wait another long year.
A GCG page on Fulltiltpokerclaims.com says: “GCG recently received data from Full Tilt Poker with respect to United States players. GCG is reviewing the data with the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (the “USAO”) and the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the United States Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) to ensure that it is interpreted accurately and to develop an appropriate calculation formula for payments. The data is extensive and it will take some time to complete the review.”
The page further says that GCG is currently working with the DoJ and the USAO so that players can start claiming their funds. It has urged US poker players to keep returning to the page for updates and promises that claimants can submit “Petitions for Remission” online as soon as “the claim process begins.”
Many US poker players are afraid that they will be put on an IRS watch list as soon as they place a claim. To make things worse, many of them feel that PokerStars is somehow responsible for all these delays, and this is tarnishing PokerStars’ reputation in the US.