Not more than a week after a closed door meeting with the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) the US Department of Justice (DOJ) broke their long silence on when Full Tilt Poker players could expect to have their funds released to them. While the PPA threw a lot of coldwater on the poker community –The PPA’s John Pappas said “a year” would be a reasonably optimistic timetable—the DOJ did very little with their latest statement to layout any timeline.
The update did little more than say the DOJ had yet to settle on a third-party payment processor to handle the remission process US players will have to go through to reclaim their Full Tilt Poker account balances. In fact the DOJ said the process of selecting a payment processor wouldn’t be completed until January, 2013 – and taking into consideration the previous deadlines/timelines the DOJ has used January likely means May.
The update was the first since July 31, 2011, when the DOJ announced that they had reached a settlement deal with PokerStars that would see the online poker room purchase the assets of their one-time rival Full Tilt Poker. The latest update simply laid-out where the process of reconnecting players with their frozen accounts (money we haven’t seen since April 15, 2011!) and in just a few short sentences basically reiterated what the PPA had said mere days ago: Justice.gov Press Release
“November 20, 2012—Victim Update. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is evaluating applicants for the position of Claims Administrator to handle petitions for remission for U.S. victims of the alleged fraud that Full Tilt Poker committed relating to player funds. The United States Attorney’s Office expects that the Claims Administrator will be selected and begin work in January 2013.”
All of this is going at the same time that PokerStars has already made players from around the globe hole, having used their own cashier to process those payments; which begs the question of why the US Department of Justice didn’t put PokerStars in charge of repaying US players? Something the online poker site has already done once before when it left the US market post-Black Friday and paid off all account balances.
Not only has the US DOJ likely cost affected players a sizable chunk of money (someone has to pay the Payment Processor they select) but they did so while simply turning a blind eye to the fact that they had a method already in place in the form of PokerStars!
Needless to say the US poker community is not overly thrilled with the DOJ’s handling of the process thus far, but it has come as no surprise to me, and many others, who saw the remission process dragging out for possibly years to come.