Earlier this week Full Tilt Poker finally released a statement regarding player payouts. In this statement the company explained some of the reasons why it was not able to return player funds since Black Friday and comments on the issues that are still preventing the process.
Full Tilt named three main obstacles that stood in the way of paying back their players; the debt is reported to be in excess of $150 million to U.S. players alone.
First, the main reason is the seizure of company funds on April 15th by the U.S. Department of Justice. However, the two other reasons appear to be somewhat new – Full Tilt has disclosed that in the two years preceding the events of Black Friday the U.S. government had constantly seized player funds in U.S. banks which resulted in the company losing $115 million; And Full Tilt suffered even more damage when its key payment processor apparently stole $42 million from the company accounts. Full Tilt pointed out that all the losses caused by the government seizures and the payment processor's theft was covered by the company so that no player would be affected.
However, the company stated that the events of April 15th were those it did not expect and that seizure of their .com domain as well as the player funds was the knockout that Full Tilt is still trying to recover from. They also said that in the last four months the company officials have been working hard to find new ways to restore the company's reputation and pay off their debts to the players.
The number of six possible investors was mentioned in Tuesday's statement including “hedge funds, operators of other internet businesses and individual investors.” Rumor has it that among the possible investors are the names of 888, bwin.party and Playtech.
Last week, on August 22nd, Full Tilt released a statement regarding their search for new investors in which the company expressed regret for not interacting with their players more openly due to the confidentiality issues between the company and the possible investors. Soon after one of Full Tilt's lawyers Jeff Ifrah joined one of the world's largest online poker forums TwoPlusTwo.com in order to communicate with Full Tilt players regarding various Full Tilt related issues including player paybacks. However, Ifrah underlined that he was not representing the official position of the company, but rather disclosing information that he believed was not confidential.
Because of their inability to ensure player cashouts, Full Tilt Poker's online egambling license was suspended by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission in June seizing all of their online gaming activities. The site has remained non-operational ever since.
The full statement issued by Full Tilt Poker on Tuesday, August 30:
As is obvious from the events that have transpired since April 15th, Full Tilt Poker was not prepared for the far-reaching, US government enforcement effort of Black Friday.
The events of Black Friday came on the heels of prior government enforcement activities and significant theft. Over the two years preceding Black Friday, the US government seized approximately $115M of player funds located in U.S. banks. While we believed that offering peer-to-peer online poker did not violate any federal laws — a belief supported by many solid and well-reasoned legal opinions — the DOJ took a different view. In addition, as was widely reported, a key payment processor stole approximately $42M from Full Tilt Poker. Until April 15th, Full Tilt Poker had always covered these losses so that no player was ever affected. Finally, during late 2010 and early 2011, Full Tilt Poker experienced unprecedented issues with some of its third-party processors that greatly contributed to its financial problems. While the company was on its way to addressing the problems caused by these processors, Full Tilt Poker never anticipated that the DOJ would proceed as it did by seizing our global domain name and shutting down the site worldwide.
Over the last four months, Full Tilt Poker has been actively exploring opportunities with outside investors in order to stabilize the company and pay back our players. At least six of those groups, including hedge funds, operators of other internet businesses and individual investors, have visited Dublin to inspect the operation. We have recently engaged an additional financial adviser through an investment banking group to assist us in our search for an infusion of cash as well as a new management team to restore the site and repay players.
While any deal of this nature is necessarily complex given the current regulatory environment, our players should know that Full Tilt Poker is fully committed to paying them back in full and restoring confidence in our operations.