The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has listed a job posting on its website for “Claims Administrator–Full Tilt Poker” that will be responsible for reimbursing U.S. players the monies due to be paid back pursuant to the settlement agreement between PokerStars, Full Tilt and the DoJ.
The position entails the ability to “design and execute a process to solicit, receive and evaluate claims, and to process payments, for losses incurred by U.S. victims that are attributable to the fraud alleged” in United States v. Pokerstars et al., 11 Civ. 2564 (LBS). In addition, the successful applicant is expected to compare financial transaction information from claimants to that listed on the database used by Full Tilt Poker.
The government posting estimates roughly 1.3 million players have account balances on Full Tilt and that about $159 million “is immediately available for distribution via the remission process,” less administration expenses. The funds, of course, come from the recent $225 million payment from PokerStars to the DoJ to acquire the severely financially mismanaged online poker site. U.S. players who were perhaps hoping that the DoJ was nearing a decision on a payment plan for players better get accustomed to this process taking quite some time as applications for the position will be accepted through Aug. 31. And with the wheels of progress typically grinding very slowly in U.S. government bureaucracy, its anybody’s guess when repayment will actually begin.
Its widely believed that during negotiations, PokerStars was completely willing to be responsible for paying U.S. players in addition to the rest-of-world players who will be receiving their account balances upon the relaunching of Full Tilt in early November. The DoJ could have avoided the whole remission process and allowed PokerStars to make players whole throughout the world. However, the DoJ apparently wants to have a hand in the process, perhaps to extract tax revenue from U.S. players.
Those applying for the Claims Administrator position are required to disclose prior contacts with online gambling companies or poker sites that can “be viewed as affecting independence” of processing claims. Applicants are also asked to project fees in undertaking the position. The successful applicant will work in conjunction with the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the DoJ.
The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has offered to assist the DoJ “in creating a streamlined and accessible process to help reunite players with their seized funds.” No word yet on whether the DoJ will take the PPA up on its offer.