Since the beginning of 2014, American online poker players who held funds in a Full Tilt Poker account on April 15, 2011 have been filing petitions for remission of those funds. To date, approximately $110 million in claims have been reimbursed to petitioners. Last month, it was finally decided that professional players would be eligible for partial recompense, giving them exactly one month to submit petitions before the September 3rd deadline.
Garden City Group, which was appointed by the DOJ to manage the Full Tilt Poker remission process towards the end of 2013, has been working diligently to obtain player information, review petitions and make payments to those online poker players deemed eligible to apply for a Full Tilt Poker claim. The very first and by far largest round of payments went out on February 28 of this year, delivering approximately $76 million to 27,500 petitioners. That bulk of payments was awarded to all players who provided correct information in a timely manner and did not dispute the account balances furnished by GCG.
About a month later on April 1st, a second round of payments went out to petitioners who were originally approved in the first round of payment, but had provided insufficient or inaccurate banking information. The 2,200 people who corrected their banking details by that date we distributed a total of $5 million. At that point, the biggest question was whether affiliates of the online poker room, as well as those deemed ‘professional players’, would be allowed to file a petition for remission. Realistically, it’s the pro players who stand to have the highest balances at Full Tilt Poker, thus many millions more are still up in the air.
On May 28th, it was decided that affiliates would be permitted to file for reimbursement of their Full Tilt balances. Petitioners were also advised that if they owed any debts to the Treasury Department, they would automatically be deducted from their balance beforehand. Then on June 12th, a third round of payments was sent out to affiliates and all who filed late petitions or completed the necessary updates to their bank information, totaling approximately $14 million to 3,200 more players.
The question still remained at that point whether professional poker players, outside of those who held Team Full Tilt Pro status, would be eligible to file a petition. On August 4, an update finally addressed a conclusion to the issue, stating that they would be permitted to claim a refund, but only on funds derived from online poker deposits and winnings; not funds “attributable to compensation provided by FTP or affiliate revenue”. Included in that update was the official deadline for filing a petition, set for September 3, 2014. A few days later, a final update notice read:
“Please note that the final deadline for all petitioners – including Affiliates and Pros – to file a Petition for Remission is September 3, 2014… Please be advised that after September 3, the filing portion of this website will no longer be available and Petitions will no longer be accepted…”