Advocacy groups respond to new Full Tilt Poker developments

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Sep 20, 2011 Posted in Legal Poker News, Poker Room News | No Comments »

Two of the major players in the online poker advocacy arena were quick to respond to today’s breaking news that the Department of Justice is seeking to amend the civil complaint that was unsealed on April 15, 2011. Both the Poker Players Alliance and the American Gaming Association were quick to fire off statements reiterating their positions. Both statements can be read in full below.

With serious charges leveled at Full Tilt Poker and four of the principles in the company, Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Rafe Furst, and Ray Bitar, the poker community’s outrage has once again risen to the surface as it now appears that the over $300 million owed to Full Tilt poker players is in major jeopardy of never being repaid.

PPA Statement on DOJ Amendment to Online Poker Civil Suit

Washington, DC (September 20, 2011)

– John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide, issued the following statement upon today’s amended Department of Justice civil suit claiming that Full Tilt Poker was engaged in a “Ponzi scheme” and defrauded its players.

“This is a sad and disappointing day for American poker players. If true, these allegations detail a massive betrayal of player trust which will cause financial hardship for thousands, if not millions, of individual poker players, none of whom are accused of doing anything wrong. We call on the Department of Justice to certify that the proceeds of any settlement or seizure that may result from this action will first be dedicated to reimbursing players. We further call on Full Tilt Poker, its management, directors and owners to take all available steps to ensure the prompt payment of players as their first priority.”

Since Black Friday on April 15th, the PPA has vocally called for Full Tilt Poker to refund player balances. We also issued a guide to our players which provided them legal guidance on what they could do to recover their funds. These new government allegations underscore the sincere need for Congress to act immediately to pass legislation that appropriately regulates Internet poker in the U.S. so that players can be protected from the types of abuses alleged by the Department of Justice today. Today’s news does not change the mission of the PPA – to make player reimbursements and effective federal or state licensing of Internet poker a priority.”

To view the PPA legal guide referenced above, please visit

AGA Statement on DOJ Action against Full Tilt Poker


Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., President & CEO, American Gaming Association

“I have two simple questions: ‘How much and for how long?’ How much money that we don’t know about is being swindled from U.S. consumers and how long will it take before we change laws to protect those consumers?

“This morning we called on Congress to institute an effective online poker regulatory system to protect American consumers and released an online poker Code of Conduct that would ensure online poker companies are operated honestly, legally and responsibly.

“This afternoon the Department of Justice (DOJ) accused one of the most well-known offshore online operators, Full Tilt Poker, of bilking players out of more than $300 million. The U.S. attorney who made the accusation called Full Tilt Poker, ‘…not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme.’

“Tomorrow Congress should begin changing the laws to protect consumers from such schemes.

“We applaud the DOJ for this latest action, but every time a shady website is shut down, an even shadier one pops up. The type of illegal activity the DOJ is accusing Full Tilt Poker of will continue to happen in the absence of the same tough, stringent regulations and enforcement that successfully govern bricks-and-mortar casinos. The Code of Conduct we released today details the type of measures that will help ensure American consumers are protected. The time to act is now, or millions of Americans playing online will continue to face a risky environment. Congress needs to establish federal guidelines so that states that choose to can regulate and license online poker, and bring the jobs and revenues associated with this billion dollar industry to the U.S.”

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