Full Tilt Poker claims process will begin September 16

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Aug 17, 2013 Posted in Legal Poker News, US Poker News | No Comments »

trademark_105865316On the official website, www.fulltiltpokerclaims.com, the Garden City Group (GCG) has announced that the claims process will begin on September 16, 2013, with players having 60 days to file their claims. The deadline for filing a submission will be November 15, 2013.

Important Update About the Start of the Claims Process

Starting on September 16, 2013, GCG will email a Notice with instructions on how to submit a Petition for Remission online to all potentially eligible claimants identified by GCG utilizing data supplied by Full Tilt Poker (“FTP”). The deadline to submit a Petition for Remission is November 15, 2013. Instructions concerning the filing of Petitions will be included in the Notice and will be posted on this website. Please continue to check this website for updates. Please note that the registration process for email notification is no longer available.

The update comes just days after Pokerfuse.com quoted a GCG spokesperson that said this announcement would come at the end of the week –marking one of the first times an unnamed source has gotten something right when speaking about Full Tilt Poker post-Black Friday.

The E-Mail notification signup form is no longer available on the site, which means that any affected players that have not signed-up for E-Mail notifications will now have to physically go to the fulltiltpokerclaims.com website for specific instructions on filing a remission claim during the 60-day window from September 16 through November 15.

The 60-day window is not when players will receive their funds, it’s simply for the filing of a claim; the GCG will then have to verify each claim they receive before they can make any payments, which will likely take quite some time.

The reason claims will not be paid as each individual claim is verified has to do with the following statement from the GCG’s FTP website [bold mine]:

If the forfeited funds available for distribution equal or exceed the aggregate FTP Account Balances for all eligible Petitioners, each eligible Petitioner with an approved claim will receive the entirety of his or her FTP Account Balance. If the aggregate FTP Account Balances for all eligible Petitioners exceed the funds available for distribution, payments shall be made to eligible Petitioners on a pro rata basis.

Essentially, before the first payment can be sent, the last claim must be verified.

This raises another question: How much money has the DOJ given (or set aside for) the GCG to disperse to players? While the statement on the GCG FTP page gives a few exact numbers: “forfeit $547 million to the United States … approximately $184 million owed by Full Tilt to foreign players,” there is no mention of the final number the DOJ has set aside to repay Full Tilt’s US customers, just vague language:

Utilizing funds forfeited from PokerStars in this action, the Department of Justice has established the Petition for Remission process, by which eligible U.S. fraud victims will be able to seek compensation for their losses.

Coupled with the previously quoted statement that “If the aggregate FTP Account Balances for all eligible Petitioners exceed the funds available for distribution, payments shall be made to eligible Petitioners on a pro rata basis,” tells me the number has the potential to be lower than US players are expecting.

However, with just a 60-day window, and coming some two and a half years after the money was frozen back on April 15, 2011, it’s likely that many of the smaller balances from the site will go unclaimed. My suspicion is there will be a lot of leftover money, as a lot of players with insignificant amounts (to them) may have simply forgotten about their balance, written it off as a loss, left the poker world and haven’t been keeping track of the process, or simply don’t want to deal with the government to receive $30, $80, $100, and in some cases more.


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