Full Tilt Poker Release Statement - The Plot Thickens...
After months more silence from Full Tilt regarding the ongoing "issues" with their operation they finally released a statement yesterday addressing a few of the more pertinent questions currently being asked of them. The statement in full reads as follows;
" As is obvious from the events that have transpired since April 15th, Full Tilt Poker was not prepared for the far-reaching, US government enforcement effort of Black Friday.
The events of Black Friday came on the heels of prior government enforcement activities and significant theft. Over the two years preceding Black Friday, the US government seized approximately $115M of player funds located in U.S. banks. While we believed that offering peer-to-peer online poker did not violate any federal laws—a belief supported by many solid and well-reasoned legal opinions—the DOJ took a different view. In addition, as was widely reported, a key payment processor stole approximately $42M from Full Tilt Poker. Until April 15th, Full Tilt Poker had always covered these losses so that no player was ever affected. Finally, during late 2010 and early 2011, Full Tilt Poker experienced unprecedented issues with some of its third-party processors that greatly contributed to its financial problems. While the company was on its way to addressing the problems caused by these processors, Full Tilt Poker never anticipated that the DOJ would proceed as it did by seizing our global domain name and shutting down the site worldwide.
Over the last four months, Full Tilt Poker has been actively exploring opportunities with outside investors in order to stabilize the company and pay back our players. At least six of those groups, including hedge funds, operators of other internet businesses and individual investors, have visited Dublin to inspect the operation. We have recently engaged an additional financial advisor through an investment banking group to assist us in our search for an infusion of cash as well as a new management team to restore the site and repay players. While any deal of this nature is necessarily complex given the current regulatory environment, our players should know that Full Tilt Poker is fully committed to paying them back in full and restoring confidence in our operations"
Full Tilt have also indicated that they will be shortly releasing further statements, purportedly tackling the deposit shortfalls and the DOJ seizures as they try to finally bring some transparency to proceedings.
However, the general consensus among players and commentators across the poker forums and news sites is that this statement does nothing but further strengthen the feeling that Full Tilt has seriously let its customer base down, continually acted irresponsibly with regards its finances and gone about its business arrogantly assuming that the worst would never happen despite what appears to have been a two year long warning that it almost certainly would.
In particular the "unprecedented issues with some of its third-party processors" seem, quite rightly to have concerned people the most. It would appear that despite knowing that they didn't have payment processors in place to deal with deposits being made by countless customers using electronic funds transfers in the US that Full Tilt were still depositing the funds in players accounts. Effectively Full Tilt were "loaning" money to their own customers to play on the site without being able to collect the money from the banks of said customers - assuming that they would be able to "collect" at some later date. So widespread was the practice that it has been reported that in many cases, certain customers, realising that they weren't actually being charged redeposited time and time again then closing their accounts before Full Tilt could ever hope to get their money. As a result FT have found a $128 million shortfall in its deposits.
Apparently insiders at both FTP and Stars have claimed that FT knowingly continued this practice to gain market share over PokerStars who were discouraged from accepting deposits without payment processors in place by its licensing agreement with The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Committee, which requires it to keep player funds in a separate account.
Also of grave concern is the fact that as yet there is nothing in the way of a firm commitment from any potential investor without whom FTP has practically zero chance of any recovery whatsoever. According to FTP's legal team, currently three of the six investors cited are still in "negotiations" with Full Tilt.
For more insight into these matters a full and detailed log of events can be found in Noah SD's articles at www.subjectpoker.com and also through his posts in numerous threads on the 2+2 forums. The most relevant thread for this piece can be found here
A post which has received a great deal of support from the 2+2 community written by UK pro Harry Demetriou can be found here
More information on FTP issues can be found in this Q&A thread with FTP lawyer Jeff Ifrah here
We will of course update you on any further press releases from FTP in the lead up to the recommencing of the AGCC hearing next month.