No news is good news?
July 8, 2011, Posted by Pokerfarm
Full Tilt Poker's future is engulfed in a morass of fear, uncertainty and doubt. It's been a week since the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) suspended their license and FTP was forced to freeze games, and in that period the rumor mill has been working overtime to keep up with player speculation over the internet card room’s future, fuelled by Full Tilt’s continuing refusal to make a public statement.
Almost immediately following the suspension, Scott Matusow (Mike’s brother) wrote a blog post assuring everyone that Jack Binion was to invest in Full Tilt, and there was nothing to worry about. Almost everything Scott wrote (with all the eloquence and nuance of a fourteen-year-old girl’s facebook updates) has since turned out to be either misleading or false.
On July 1st, the LA Times confidently reported that Full Tilt was to be bought out by unnamed European investors, which would generate enough capital to pay players worldwide. They claimed to have spoken to FTP’s lawyers, and that the business deal was definite.
The Wall Street Journal claimed that the investment would be large enough not only to repay players, but also reach a settlement with the US Department of Justice. However, they reported that the deal was “tentative” and wouldn’t be finalized for at least three weeks.
On July 3rd, the AGCC released a statement that it was in discussions with FTP and a “third party” over a possible deal to bail out Full Tilt, but gave even fewer concrete details than the WSJ article.
On July 4th, a pseudonymous poster emerged on poker forum Two Plus Two, claiming he worked for Full Tilt and that he was “75% certain” that player balances would be repaid now that investors had been found. He verified his identity as an FTP employee by describing the company lunch menu (I’m not kidding,) and as a result did not inspire a huge amount of confidence
Later the same day, the French regulator ARJEL suspended Full Tilt’s French license due to players’ inability to access the site. You’d think players’ inability to access their money was the more pressing issue, but that’s why you aren’t a French gambling regulator.
Despite all the uncertainty, a few things have become clear. Full Tilt will not attempt to operate without a license, and very probably isn’t going to attempt to obtain one in another jurisdiction. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission even went so far as to announce they were reviewing the secondary license FTP holds with them, and when the regulator that licenses Cereus is investigating you, you know you’re in real trouble.
Securing a large investment is now Full Tilt’s only out, and despite media speculation, until such a transaction has been publicly confirmed, players can’t relax. Even if FTP can find investors, there is still the non-trivial matter of trying to reach a settlement with the DoJ over charges against both the company and executives (notably Raymond Bitar.) Frustratingly, all players can do is wait. We’ve all got our fingers crossed.
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