The United States Department of Justice amended its complaint last week (originally filed on April, 15, 2011) by likening Full Tilt Poker to a "Ponzi Scheme" and specifically naming Ray Bitar, Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, and Rafe Furst as owners and founders of Full Tilt Poker. This week the long awaited licensing decision from the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) has been settled. The AGCC released a statement announcing that Full Tilt Poker's license was revoked.
AGCC Commissioners, sitting as a tribunal, have today revoked the licenses of Vantage Limited, Filco Limited and Oxalic Limited, trading as Full Tilt Poker (FTP), with immediate effect. This follows the earlier suspension of the licenses 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, unauthorized 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 maximize 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 licenses 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 Now that FTP’s licenses have been revoked, AGCC no longer has jurisdiction over these companies.
The license 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 GamblingControl.org.
A number of reasons for the decision were listed in a separate report including the following: "licensee’s current financial position and financial background, are no longer a fit and proper person to hold an eGambling license," and that the seizures by the DOJ are a "'serious incident' pursuant to 4(g) of the Regulations."