Former U.S. Full Tilt players moved one step closer to being reunited with their frozen funds as the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) announced the hiring of the Garden City Group (GCG) to oversee the remission process.
The GCG has a proven track record in facilitating claims of this magnitude. The class action settlement and bankruptcy administration company has been undertaking such legal administration projects for almost 30 years. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called the selection of GCG “a significant step forward in the process of compensating victims of the Full Tilt Poker scheme.”
Those U.S. victims have been waiting for about $150 million for almost two years since the Black Friday allegations rocked the online poker industry and left American players with few choices to play online and forever wondering if the DoJ may target another U.S.-facing online poker room.
Rest-of-world players were reimbursed following the relaunch of Full Tilt on Nov. 6 after PokerStars purchased the assets of Full Tilt from the DoJ. But U.S. players have been left in the lurch since the DoJ insisted on handling the remission process. The wheels of progress in U.S. government offices turn very slowly, as evidenced by the fact that the DoJ had previously announced that a claims administrator would be hired in January, some six weeks ago.
At least the remission process is moving forward. To that end, GCG has set up www.FullTiltPokerClaims.com in order to eventually allow players to submit claims for their funds electronically. A date upon which claims will be accepted has not yet been established, with the website saying only that the “process will begin shortly.”
GCG also plans to allow players to register on the site and receive notification emails regarding the status of the claims process. However, attempting to register at this time is met with a message that the registration process is “to be added” and to “check back soon.” Players desiring more information can call the GCG toll-free hotline at (866) 250-2640 or shoot an email to Info@FullTiltPokerClaims.com.
Many players are wondering if 100% of their account balances will be returned. Various rumors have alluded to the possibility that the DoJ may only reimburse the amounts that players have deposited. But keep in mind that non-U.S. Full Tilt players were made whole four months ago upon the site’s relaunch and the DoJ also agreed to allow PokerStars to fully reimburse U.S. players just a few weeks after Black Friday.
My guess is that players will receive their full account balances less some type of administration fee. However, in the case of players with significant sums, the Internal Revenue Service may want to take their cut. But that is purely speculation at this point.