Full Tilt Poker's player balances were locked up after Black Friday! Old news, right? Right! PokerStars agreed to settle a civil suit with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for $731m a year ago in April, and $330 million of that settlement would refund both American players and the rest of the world (ROW) players. The DoJ assumed responsibility for refunding account balances to US players (which is still hanging in the air) and PokerStars took on the repayment of Full Tilt's ROW players.
Repayment of Full Tilt Poker's players around the world may sound like an easy task but as we all know, there are many legal pitfalls and issues that develop along the way. The local gaming regulators in Spain and France made the decision that players could withdraw their funds through PokerStars' licensed .fr and .es sites but Italy was another story. Italian citizens and Full Tilt Poker were not a legal combination because Full Tilt had never acquired a license to offer online poker in Italy.
If Full Tilt account balances were to be sent directly to Italian players, PokerStars attorneys believe that would be the distribution of proceeds culminating from an illegal activity. The DoJ's deal with PokerStars demands, in part, that any local laws cannot be broken during the remission process.
Imagine the brainstorming that went on at PokerStars for a means to remit Italian players' balances to them without breaking the law or the agreement with the DoJ. Donating the funds to Italian charities hit the drawing board, and even the idea of holding on to the player balances until such time as Italian lawmakers might permit the same withdrawal of funds that France and Spain allowed came across as an idea.
But after much discussion with local pros and Italian attorneys, Tilt Mania is the answer that PokerStars came up with. Between now and the end of the year Italian players will receive €2m in the Tilt Mania promotion which will be distributed in all cash games, SNGs, and MTTs at PokerStars.it.
Even though some of PokerStars players never had Full Tilt Poker accounts, every Italian that plays at PokerStars will share in Tilt Mania because limiting the promotion to strictly Italian Full Tilt Poker players at PokerStars would only create the same situation as paying them directly.
Details of the Tilt Mania promotion can be found on PokerStars.it.
Image courtesy of PokerStars.it.