The Black Friday poker scandal is by no means over yet. However, the settlement of outstanding account balances has taken a step in the right direction. Earlier this week, the office of the US Attorney General in New York updated the ongoing settlement process. The office released a statement that they will appoint a claims administrator to oversee the repayment of Full Tilt Poker funds to US players very soon. The statement was made less than a week after the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) warned former players that the settlement will be a long, tedious process.
The US Department of Justice, using a New York Attorney General issued warrant, seized the Full Tilt Poker operating url in June, 2011 on a day that poker fans call Black Friday. It was only after Full Tilt agreed to be purchased by former rival PokerStars that a settlement with the Justice Department was announced. The settlement included a $547 million fee to the Justice Department, and that total includes the estimated 1.3 million US players’ account balances.
This repayment process will be the responsibility of a claims administrator, which is a position the Justice Department has been attempting to fill since August, 2012. The claims administrator would gather financial information from claimants, and coordinate the repayment of Full Tilt Poker balances to these claimants. As a result of such a complicated task that will impact financial security, the Justice Department says it has been reviewing applications from several candidates in thorough detail. This week’s statement sets a deadline for the claims administrator to be installed and working by January, 2013.
Nevertheless, US poker players have grown increasingly frustrated with the lengthy process. Full Tilt Poker re-launched its real-money gaming services two weeks ago, granting players access to their frozen accounts, but only in legally regulated countries. The US was not one of them, and the longer the repayment process takes, disgruntled players become even more aggravated.
Last week PPA Executive Director John Pappas, along with his legal team, met with officials from the Justice Department to discuss any progress in the repayment process. Pappas emerged from the meeting and suggested former Full Tilt players are in for a long wait for their balances. In reaction to this week’s statement out of New York, Pappas dismisses the statement as little assurance that repayments will soon begin.