Things Get Much Worse at Full Tilt as their License to Operate is Suspended

by Lou on June 30, 2011

If you thought things at Full Tilt were pretty bad, they got worse yesterday—much worse, in fact—as the gambling commission in Britain’s Channel Islands shut down the beleaguered site, and tightened the screws on a firm with severe cash problems and a presumably shrinking player base.

Regulators from the island of Alderney visited the Dublin offices of Pocket Kings Ltd., Full Tilt’s software arm, to advise employees there that Full Tilt’s licenses, and those of their affiliate companies, were suspended. The regulators shut down all operations immediately, at least until late July when a hearing is scheduled.

Play was immediately halted, in mid-game, according to some players on the site.  For the foreseeable future, Full Tilt is prohibited from registering new customers, taking deposits from existing customers, allowing withdrawals by existing customers, or permitting any play on the site.

According to a written statement from Andre Wilsenach, executive director of the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, “The decision to suspend the eGambling license was in the public interest and, because of the seriousness and urgency of the matter, it required that immediate action be taken ahead of the regulatory hearing.”

This had the effect of subjecting non US players to the same issues that American players have experienced: Access to their money is gone, at least until sometime in late July at the earliest.

I’ve wondered in this blog and in articles Shari Geller and I wrote and posted to www.pokerplayernewspaper.com, why European players would continue to play at Full Tilt, given the firm’s precarious financial situation and inability to refund money that players had on deposit. Remember, money belonging to players was comingled with Full Tilt’s operating funds, and that should have never occurred.  Player deposits were never Full Tilt’s money to spend in the first place, but they chose to dip their hands into their customers pockets instead of segregating and securing monies entrusted to them by others.

While Full Tilt’s behavior leaves much to be desired, European players who blithely ignored what was happening with Full Tilt here in the United States will have to accept some responsibility for their inability to access their own frozen funds. After all, the handwriting was on the wall, and unfortunately for poker players all over the world who had funds on deposit at Full Tilt, the message grows clearer with every passing day.

Incidentally, in walking around the Rio’s Amazon Room yesterday during the World Series of Poker, I didn’t notice very many players—if any—decked out in Full Tilt patches.  I didn’t take  a formal survey.  I didn’t even walk around looking for the presence or absence of Full Tilt logos.  It’s only in retrospect that I realized they are becoming quite rare.

And that’s no surprise by now.  After all, who wants to sport a patch advertising a firm that took players money, comingled it with their own and spent it, cannot or will not refund player deposits, and is now suspended and forbidden to operate until a hearing in late July?

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