The Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) announced today that Full Tilt’s operating licenses have been revoked. The regulatory body said that Full Tilt "had fundamentally misled the AGCC about their operational integrity."
Revoked licenses include Vantage Limited, Filco Limited and Oxalic Limited, who collectively traded as Full Tilt Poker. The license for Ornic Limited, described as "a recently added geographic sub-division of the FTP poker room," remains suspended. According to the AGCC, Vantage, Filco and Oxalic are all insolvent.
In a determination notice, the AGCC concluded that Full Tilt is "no longer a fit and proper person to hold an eGambling license." Breaches of regulations include “false reporting, unauthorised provision of credit, and failure to report material events." According to the AGCC, Full Tilt reported "as liquid funds balances that had been covertly seized or restrained by US authorities, or that were otherwise not actually available to the operator."
The AGCC claim that the US Department of Justice's amended civil suit—and the resulting "Ponzi Scheme" headlines—last week had no impact on the decision. The regulatory body also stressed that the revocation of Full Tilt's operating licenses does not rule out the possibility of a sale, though it certainly has reduced the site's value.
Financing could already be secured, though. Cynics have suggested that the AGCC waited for the completion of a buyout before making the announcement. However, this is unconfirmed and Full Tilt may not have been able to seal a deal quickly enough. According to the AGCC, the poker site had further requests to extend and postpone the hearing refused.
Indeed, last week Jeff Ifrah, who had been acting as Full Tilt’s legal counsel in a class action suit against the company, begged the Two Plus Two forums to petition the AGCC for more time. He said: "Right now, it is important to encourage the AGCC to delay any ruling for a minimum of 30 days in order to permit a timely transition to a new ownership structure…I plead with all of you to do this and unite in this one effort. A negative AGCC ruling will cause all efforts that have been undertaken to secure this investor group to fail and leave customers in the cold."
The US Department of Justice seized approximately $331 million (roughly enough to cover player funds) from Full Tilt between June 2007 and June 2011, according to the AGCC. With Full Tilt insolvent and without its operating licenses, the company looks close to dead, unless it can find financing. American players will have to hope that either a deal is reached, or that the Department of Justice returns player balances with seized funds.
The AGCC statement read:
“AGCC Commissioners, sitting as a tribunal, have today revoked the licences of Vantage Limited, Filco Limited and Oxalic Limited, trading as Full Tilt Poker (FTP), with immediate effect. This follows the earlier suspension of the licences on 29th June 2011.
At a hearing held in London over six days, it emerged that FTP had fundamentally misled AGCC about their operational integrity by continuously reporting as liquid funds balances that had been covertly seized or restrained by US authorities, or that were otherwise not actually available to the operator. Serious breaches of AGCC regulations include false reporting, unauthorised provision of credit, and failure to report material events.
At the commencement of these proceedings on 26th July AGCC made clear its preference to hold the hearing in public, to the benefit of players and media alike. However, the tribunal was persuaded that the hearing should be held in camera on the basis of claims by FTP that this would maximise the chance of a commercial rescue of the business for the benefit of players. For this reason an adjournment of 54 days was allowed.
It is important to note that the revocation of FTP’s licences does not, as has been suggested, prevent a reactivation of the business under new ownership and management. Unresolved claims by players against FTP become a matter for the police and civil authorities. Now that FTP’s licences have been revoked, AGCC no longer has jurisdiction over these companies.
The licence of Orinic Limited, a recently added geographic sub-division of the FTP poker room, remains suspended.
The determination notice containing the decision of the Commissioners and reasons for it is available at http://www.gamblingcontrol.org/userfiles/file/Determination%20Notice%20290911.pdf."