Full Tilt’s Licenses Revoked; AGCC “Fundamentally Misled”
The Alderney Gaming Control Commission on Thursday revoked the already-suspended licenses associated with one-time industry giant Full Tilt Poker. The decision comes after a hearing on September 19th that spanned six days.
Full Tilt has been offline since June 30th when the AGCC originally suspended its licenses following an investigation in the wake of the Black Friday indictments. The original hearing was suspended for 54 days to allow time for Full Tilt to pursue outside investment opportunities.
Underscored in the announcement today is the possibility of reinstatement, provided the ownership changes hands.
“It is important to note that the revocation of FTP’s license does not, as has been suggested, prevent a reactivation of the business under new ownership and management,” it states.
The Determination Notice accompanying the announcement outlines several grounds on which their decision was based, including the companies’ insolvency, the inability to return account balances to their players, and extending credit to players. The AGCC also alleges that Full Tilt Poker filed inaccurate financial reports and concealed the existence of seizures by the US Government.
According to information provided by Full Tilt and presented in an accountant’s report, the DOJ seized approximately $331m from Vantage Limited in a four year period between June 2007 to June 2011. Additionally, Filco Limited had $15m frozen in a Swiss bank accounts. Given the evidence considered, this seizure information – each one a “serious incident negatively affecting the operation” – was not properly reported to the licensing body.
Also alleged in the report is the unauthorized extension of credit to players, otherwise known as the “deposit shortfall.” This credit was a result of Full Tilt’s inability to collect funds that players had deposited even thought their accounts on the site were credited as if the deposits had cleared. According to the information provided by Full Tilt, $128m accumulated in uncollected payments.
Last week Jeff Ifrah, widely believed to be Full Tilt CEO Ray Bitar’s personal attorney and formerly representing many Team Full Tilt members in a class action suit filed by Todd Terry et al., pleaded with players to petition the AGCC not to pull Full Tilt’s licenses. The reason he cited was “A negative AGCC ruling will cause all efforts that have been undertaken to secure this investor group to fail and leave customers in the cold.”
In conclusion, the notice states that, “of particular concern,” the companies operating as Full Tilt “[have] been found to no longer be a fit and proper person due to its insolvency.”
Along with the “failure to remit funds to players and to ensure that sufficient funds were held in the company’s accounts to cover customer balances,” it states that inaccurate finanacial reporting and failure to notify the AGCC of the seizures were viewed “gravely” by the commission.