It has been over a year since we have heard about the potential for American players to receive refunds from Full Tilt Poker after the site was shut down during Black Friday. Over $350 million is owed to players, and the company has had a world of trouble paying it back. Now, Raymond Bitar, who has recently turned himself in to American authorities has finally spoken out about player refunds.
Absolute Poker and PokerStars, also involved in the Black Friday indictments, were permitted to resume their operation in other countries after repaying customers. Full Tilt Poker was not as fortunate, as the company’s funds were caught up in other ventures – mainly lining their owners’ pockets. As such, the site was considered a Ponzi scheme, charged with fraud and was not allowed to reopen until players were refunded.
A number of solutions were presented, mainly rely on an investor to repay players. Several companies stepped forward to take on the role, but none of the partnerships planned out. Groupe Bernard Tapie seemed to be the closest, but backed out of the deal when the American Department of Justice informed it that the refunds would have to be made with several months.
Many class-action lawsuits have been filed against Full Tilt Poker, involving thousands of angry players who want to receive that is owed to them. However, nothing has resulted from these cases, as Poker Stars simply does not have enough money to pay them back.
Finally, Raymond Bitar has spoken out on the issue, stating that it is a priority for him to ensure that players receive their money back. In a recent statement released by ABC News, he has claimed that he “will continue to do whatever is required to get the players repaid”.
It is a bold statement, and many players are sceptical about his promises. Having operated an online gambling Ponzi scheme, it seems that Raymond Bitar does not have the complete trust of the American poker-playing public.
"I know that a lot of people are very angry at me," Bitar says. “Full Tilt should never have gotten into a position where it could not repay player funds."