US Online Poker Players – File Your Claim

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The Poker Players Alliance just posted a guide to what poker players might try, to get their money back from Full-Tilt, Absolute and the other operators who won’t, or can’t, return deposits.  Although I don’t agree with everything the PPA’s say – for example, I think many U.S. courts would throw out claims by players as debts associated with gambling – they raise the important and immediate point:  If you are going to file a claim for part of the millions of dollars seized by the U.S. federal government in bank accounts around the world on April 15th, you only have until July 15, 2011.

The paper is:  “The Legal Rights of Players with Unpaid Account Balances – A PPA Information Guide” at  The PPA even included the claim form.  It’s the last two pages of the paper.

You don’t need a lawyer to file, but you should get one.  The PPA’s lawyers were worried that a player might be hit with fines if the court decides the claims are frivolous.  I’m more concerned that you have to file the claim form under oath, swearing that you have an ownership interest in an account you may not have even known existed.  Perjury is a real crime, with real penalties.  And both I and the PPA attorneys agree that the additional papers you will have to file within 21 day after filing the claim form, should be written by a lawyer.

The reason you might have the right to file a claim is that the Department of Justice decided that at least some of the bank accounts would be seized under what is known as a civil forfeiture.  Criminal cases are limited to the government and the defendants.  Civil cases involving the seizure of the poker operators’ and payment processors’ bank accounts are open to anyone who has a good faith claim on the money.

But there is a tight time limit.  The DoJ published its notice of intent to seize the online poker funds on May 16, 2011.  Claimants have only 60 days to file their verified (meaning under oath) claim with the U.S. District Court Clerk in Manhattan; that means before the end of the day on Friday, July 15, 2011.  You can file electronically.

Extensions are possible, but they would require either getting a court order or an agreement with the prosecutors.  In fact, the PokerStars companies, Absolute and Full-Tilt all were given until September 30, 2011, to file their claims.  But I doubt either the DoJ or federal Judge Leonard B. Sand would agree to give more time to a mere player.

Some claims have already been filed.  The first was by Chad Elie, who claims an ownership or possessory interest in a third of the accounts seized.  Chad is the Las Vegas defendant who married former Playmate Destiny Davis the day after he was arrested in connection with Black Friday.  He is out on $250,000 bail.

Other claims have been filed.  The second was by LST Financial, Inc., which calls itself “a full-service, third-party financial processor and service bureau.”  It is claiming an interest in five bank accounts in Texas and North Carolina seized from Four Oaks Bank and Trust.  MAS, Inc., claims money seized from Hawaii National Bank.  And, Ultra Safe Pay says it is the owner of the funds seized from Umpqua Bank in Roseburg, Oregon.

Should you file a claim?  You probably don’t have much chance of success, unless you have a communication that mentions one of the bank accounts listed in the Complaint.  They are on the pages immediately preceding the claim form in the PPA paper.  You want to find a name or number that matches an email from a payment processor or online poker operator.

Even then, there are some risks.  I don’t think the judge would punish a player if the claim failed.  But the DoJ will now have your name and identifying information.  There is no federal crime against playing poker online.  But you can be sure that if you are claiming hundreds of thousands of dollars that you will have your taxes audited.

Republished with permission © Copyright 2011, I. Nelson Rose, Prof. Rose is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on gambling law, and is a consultant and expert witness for governments and industry.  His latest books, Internet Gaming Law (1st and 2nd editions), Blackjack and the Law and Gaming Law: Cases and Materials, are available through his website,

Full Tilt Poker Closed

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The last week of June wasn’t just the end of the ’10-’11 Fiscal Year. It was also the official end of Full Tilt Poker. A descent that started on April 15 of this year, thereafter considered by the online poker world to be Black Friday, ended last week when Full Tilt Poker closed its doors, in all probability for good.

To be clear on this was already closed to US players after Black Friday. But now, as of a week ago, Full Tilt Poker is closed to everyone, no matter where in the world they may live. The action to close Full Tilt Poker’s international operations last Wednesday, June 29, 2011, was taken by British Channel Island regulators.

Full Tilt Poker has yet to pay back some $150 million in American player funds frozen along with the rest of Full Tilt’s American assets. And now, they stand to owe millions more to their players left high and dry in the rest of the world. FTP is attempting to raise the funds needed to issue all these necessary (and overdue) refunds by selling majority ownership stake in the Irish parent company of Full Tilt Poker, Pocket Kings to Europan investors.

The US Attorney’s Office, meanwhile, is still said to be seeking around $3 billion in damages from Full Tilt Poker and the other two poker sites named in Black Friday’s seizure, Poker Stars and Absolute Poker. Poker Stars, incidentally, has paid back all $120 million it owed to its American players ousted in the shutdown of their American operations, while Absolute Poker has yet to pay back a dime of American player funds since that dark day in online poker history.

Full Tilt Poker Bank Accounts NOT Unfrozen

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Last week we posted a story about the US Department of Justice releasing some Full Tilt Poker funds so that US players could be paid. As it turns out this is not true. Holdem Poker Chat along with most poker news outlets based the story on an article on eGaming Review Magazine which turns out to just be a lie.

The Public Information Office of the US Attorney’s Office has said that no funds have been released and that if any such action should be taken that it would be followed up by a public filing from their office.

Full Tilt Poker still has not repaid US players and the only announcements have come from low level PR spinners. Full Tilt Poker Pro Phil Ivey has announced that he is suing Full Tilt Poker software provider TiltWare and will not play in this year’s WSOP.

Some Full TIlt Poker Accounts Unfrozen

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According to a report on eGaming Review, some Full Tilt Poker bank accounts have been unfrozen by the US Department of Justice to faciliate player paybacks. According to the report most of the funds seized on April 15th belonged to Full Tilt Poker which is something most in the poker community where beginning to figure out when Full Tilt couldn’t pay players. Over the last couple of weeks rumors had been going around that Full Tilt were trying to sell off part of the company in order to raise money to pay players in the US.

Here is part of what was posted by eGaming Review:

The Full Tilt source explained this resulted from players’ poker balances being credited with money held in bank accounts seized by authorities before Full Tilt itself had been made aware of the seizures. “Because of the broad-sweeping nature of the Black Friday seizures, you had a seizure combined with a backlog and this has resulted in millions which all of a sudden became owed,” the FTP source said.

“Normally Full Tilt would cover that and take that loss, but because all their banks got shut down there was no way of doing that until recently when the government agreed to unfreeze the [Bank of Ireland] account,” he said.

We hope that this means that players will soon get paid and be able to make it to Las Vegas for the WSOP which begins next week.

Quicktender UseMyWallet Update

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As we previously reported, some bank account funds at QuickTender – UseMyWallet were seized in the US.

Earlier today they sent out this email message to all account holders.

Since our last email communication where we advised any funds in your QuickTender account could still be used to purchase at QuickTender accepting sites we had been working hard to reinstate our withdrawal facility and ensuring your funds where safe and secure.

However, further developments specifically relating to our main bank processing company have resulted in our accounts being frozen subject to a seizure order giving us no ability to make payments in any currency.

In light of these developments we have had no option but to discontinue the Quicktender service with immediate effect and for the foreseeable future.

At this time we are unable to confirm when or if we could make payments of remaining balances.

We will keep you advised of future relevant developments.

QuickTender Support