Full Tilt Poker has lost all of their fans and now, if they ever had any, so has the Alderney Gaming Control Commission (AGCC). Players had hoped the AGCC would be their savior and provide them a way to get their money back from the former poker room. But now, thanks to the way the AGCC mucked their hand when representatives of Full Tilt Poker went all-in at the much anticipated hearing in London this week, former players were left with the same rage against the AGCC as they feel towards Full Tilt.
The AGCC set up the hearing at London´s Park Plaza Victoria Hotel “to make public the evidence from both AGCC and Full Tilt regarding the suspension of Full Tilt’s license and to adjudicate the findings transparently” according to Executive Director of AGCC, André Wilsenach, who added “AGCC’s choice to hold a public hearing in to the future of Full Tilt Poker demonstrates our willingness to act transparently and we will welcome members of the public and the media. As ever at all times, our primary concern is the protection of the player.”
The promise of ‘transparency’ however quickly became shrouded when Full Tilt Poker attorney Martin Heslop requested that the hearing be adjourned in order not to jeopardize the current negotiations for the partial sale of his client’s poker site (the UK/Ireland unit) to a European investor. In spite of the assumption that the AGCC had to have known for some time about the potential sale, the AGCC stunned the audience when they seemed at a loss as to how to respond and retreated for a private conference to consider the request.
When the AGCC panel returned, they first decided to continue, but folded when the Full Tilt lawyers refused to co-operate with the proceedings. The commission agreed to a private meeting between the two sides to determine if the hearing would continue and if so, on what terms. In an interesting twist, when it was revealed during the private meeting that Full Tilt Poker owed the AGCC £250,000 in unpaid license fees, the Full Tilt attorney’s showed their hand; Full Tilt refused to ante up what they owed the AGCC if they weren’t going to get their license reinstated.
Crumbling before the threat, the commission agreed to Full Tilt Poker’s request for a private hearing on the matter of an adjournment and all players and members of the press were ordered from the room. The hearing continued behind closed doors, far from the eyes and ears of the public the AGCC is supposed to represent, contrary to André Wilsenach’s promise of ‘transparency.’
One well-known UK poker pro in attendance was Harry Demetriou who yelled as he was ushered from the room, “What about the players?” Demetriou received no answers and neither have the thousands of poker players worldwide who have been voicing their rage online.
Players are on tilt and rightfully so. They have waited for months to find out if they will ever receive the funds owed to them by Full Tilt. After being in limbo since April 15th, players hoped the hearing in London would provide a solution, now the hearing has been put off until September 15th and all they can do is wait and vent their anger and frustration via poker forums and social media outlets.
As the majority of former Full Tilt players see it, the AGCC is a joke and cares more about the £¼ million owed to them by Full Tilt than the estimated $150 million the poker site owes their players or what licensing a game site actually entails – like investigation and compliance and enforcing rules. Should the AGCC be investigated?