More news from the Full Tilt Poker front came in this week; according to recent reports the poker site, the U.S. Department of Justice, and Groupe Bernard Tapie have reached an agreement that would allow the latter to purchase FTP. On the same occasion Bernard Tapie himself denied the information announced last week by Subject: Poker that one of the major Full Tilt shareholders Chris Ferguson threatened to obstruct the three-way deal if the $14.3 million he donated to cover the company's expenses after April 15th, 2011, are not recovered. In other Full Tilt news, a U.S. District judge dismissed the class action complaint against the site filed by a couple of users. Some things not concerning FT happened during the week as well: the District of Columbia announced it is ready to repeal the online gambling legislation which passed last April whereas North Carolina encounters difficulties launching live Black Jack and Poker games at the state's Cherokee Indian tribe's casino.
Full Tilt, DoJ, and Groupe Bernard Tapie Sign a Deal
According to a Gaming Intelligence report issued last week, Full Tilt Poker, the U.S. department of Justice (DoJ), and Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT), have all agreed to the terms of the new deal which would allow the French investment group to purchase the Full Tilt online poker site for $80 million. The transaction would give a green light for the DoJ and GBT to take further action in returning player funds which were seized on April 15th, 2011. Full Tilt Poker owes around $150 million to U.S. players which, according to the agreement would be refunded by the DoJ, while the $150 million debt to non-US players should be covered by Groupe Bernard Tapie.
This would also be a huge step towards regaining Full Tilt's egaming license which was revoked by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) in September, 2011. “We need to complete our due diligence and reactivate the license,” Laurent Tapie, the GBT managing director said. The re-branded online poker site replacing Full Tilt Poker was expected to launch March 1st, 2012, however, the protracted negotiations delayed the process for an undetermined period of time.
Other Full Tilt related news came on Monday when U.S. District Judge Leonard B. Sand dismissed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) class action complaint against Full Tilt Poker filed by Steve Segal, Nick Hammer, Robin Hougdahl, and Todd Terry. The plaintiffs claimed that due to the “subsequent decision by one or more of the Defendants to halt player withdrawals from the Full Tilt Poker website” caused certain injuries for which the Defendants, including Raymond Bitar, Full Tilt Poker, Pocket Kings Ltd, Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey, Erick Lindgren, Chris Ferguson, Erik Seidel, and Patrik Antonius, should take legal responsibility.
However, the judge ruled that the court found no evidence that Full Tilt's or the U.S Department of Justice's actions in seizing player funds were the “cause of the injuries the racketeering offenses alleged in the complaint,” law360 reports.
Tapie Denies Ferguson's Sins
Last week Subject: Poker disclosed information about Chris Ferguson's secret bank accounts through which the Full Tilt Poker shareholder supposedly funneled funds from Full Tilt accounts to his own. The report said that the estimated amount of funneled cash was $60 million, $45 million of which was withdrawn and $14.3 million was used to cover Full Tilt's Black Friday expenses. The story continued by saying that Ferguson also threatened the DoJ and Groupe Bernard Tapie to obstruct the Full Tilt transaction to GBT if the mentioned funds are not returned.
However, Laurent Tapie denied this information by saying that Ferguson did no such thing. “This [story] is totally false,” Tapie told iGamingFrance. “Chris Ferguson has no problem with regard to the completion of the takeover agreement, which is now imminent. Even if Chris Ferguson wanted to oppose it, he would not be able to because the agreement has already been validated.”
DC to Revoke the Online Gambling Law
It appears that the members of the District of Columbia Council who voted for the online gambling legalization law didn't actually realize what they were doing. On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that DC councilmembers have initiated the repeal of the legislation they have approved on April, 2011. According to AP, “the strong backlash by the D.C. Council to the district's online gambling program has little to do with moral opposition to gambling. Instead, councilmembers are upset with the way it became law, saying they didn't realize they had voted to approve it.”
Although the legislation was passed last year, it had not yet been taken to action and from the looks of it, it will not be given the chance. A number of councilmembers including Jack Evans, David Catania, Muriel Bowser, Jim Graham, Phil Mendelson, and Tommy Wells are part of the council who support the repeal. The Mayor Vincent Gray is also on council's side. “It's become such a divisive issue. It's not critical to the fiscal needs of the city. It's just better to stop this, take a few steps back, take a deep breath and figure out where to go from here,” the Mayor's spokesman Pedro Ribeiro explained.
North Carolina Considers New Gambling Compact
The District of Columbia is not the only United States' jurisdiction with gambling law problems. Despite the North Carolina Democrat Governor Bev Perdue's efforts to pass the new gambling compact with the state's Cherokee Indians, the state's government doesn't seem very excited about it. The compact would allow tribe's Western North Carolina casino to run live blackjack and poker table games while the casino would send a percentage of their revenue to the state education department. The revenue share would start at 4 percent and then eventually reach the 8 percent mark.
However, the state's leading Republican lawmakers “expressed “significant” concerns about the constitutionality of provisions that directed gambling revenue and granted the tribe exclusive regional rights”. When initiating the new agreement Perdue aimed to change the state's current gambling legislation which generates no revenue for the state from the gambling business as well as bring in an estimated $2.5 million initially for school districts. “Gov. Perdue is focused on finalizing the compact with the Cherokee because it will create jobs and inject much-needed funding into our classrooms,” said spokeswoman Chris Mackey.
Read the Charlotte Observer for more.
Poker-Playing Millionaire Leaves $1.5M to His Employees
Working as a driver or a doorman can be quite profitable if you're working for the right millionaire. This is the truth that Jean Laborde and Chamil Demiraj learned after the death of their boss, Alan Meltzer. A 67-year old millionaire, music industry shark, a former head of Wind-Up Records, and a celebrity high-stakes poker player died last Halloween leaving a part of his fortune to his loyal servants.
Meltzer's chauffeur Jean Laborde received $1 million from his boss’s $10 million estate while the doorman Chamil Demiraj got $500,000. “I don’t know what to do exactly with the money, but one thing I know for sure – every year, I’m going to bring the guy some flowers at his grave,” Laborde said.
The millionaire’s ex-wife Diana, however, did not seem interested in her former husband's generosity, or in his death altogether. “He can leave it to whoever he wants to. I’m doing fine. I could care less. If he wants to give it to the bums, he can give it to the bums. He could f--k a nun. I couldn’t give a s--t. He can give his money to whoever he wants. We’re divorced. The man is dead,” was Diana's response to the news.
Find the full story on NY Post.
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The Inaugural Nordic 2012 Takes Off This May
May 18th through 20th will find the best Nordic poker players gathering at the Reval Park Hotel & Casino in the Estonian capital Tallinn for the inaugural Nordic 2012 team poker event. The €900 buy-in tournament will feature teams of four playing No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha games. The tournament prize pool is expected to reach €30,000 with the €10,000 cash prize going to the best team.
On the first day of the tournament each team member will play one event of each poker variation. Teams with the best overall result from all four team members will then get to play in the finals. The team tournament featuring the best teams will resume on Sunday, May 20 while on Saturday every player will get the chance to play an individual No-Limit Hold'em tournament.
For more information on Nordic 2012 visit NordicAces.com.
Ivey Back on The Nuts
The first player to top ESPN's “The Nuts” monthly top 10 ranking of the world's best poker players, Phil Ivey. is once again back on the list. Ivey, who has been absent from the live tournament circuit since he boycotted the 2011 WSOP, came back to the tables at the end of the year and now to the top 10 players' list as well. The main reason for Ivey's return was his results in this year's Aussie Millions. First he scored a 12th-place finish at the Aussie Millions Main Event and then went on to win the $250,000 Super High Roller.
Great results down under boosted Ivey to the 4th place in the rankings of the world's best poker players at the moment. Still leading The Nuts is Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier who is followed by the most winningest player of all time, Erik Seidel in second place. Third is Bluff Magazine's 2011 Player of the Year Eugene Katchalov with Ivey and 2011 European Player of the Year Sam Trickett in fourth and fifth place respectively.
See the full rankings on ESPN Poker.
2012 WSOP Schedule Announced
The 2012 World Series of Poker will take off on May 27th and host 61 bracelet events. The biggest news in the WSOP schedule is the absence of November 9. The rumor of the World Series giving up on the idea of moving the Main Event final table to November has been around for a while and as it appears, it was true. However, the reason for moving the event was somewhat unexpected. Due to the 2012 US Presidential election, the World Series of Poker Main Event final table will be played on October 28th to 30th instead of the first weekend of November.
The 43rd annual World Series of Poker will take place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel in Las Vegas and feature a number of new events. Apart from the most-awaited $10,000 Main Event, the 2012 World Series will also introduce four new bracelet events, plus two non-bracelet events: the $560 Doubles No-Limit Hold’em and a $560 Bracelet Bounty No-Limit Hold’em – a tournament with a special bounty on any former bracelet winner to enter the field.
The 2012 WSOP will also host the $1 million buy-in One Drop event taking place July 1st, as well as a number of other new tournaments on the schedule.
Check out WSOP.com for more on the 2012 schedule.