The online poker site Full Tilt Poker (FTP), has been seeing a huge surge in search engine ratings – believed to be visitors to this site, however, nothing could actually be further from the truth. The site was closed by the DoJ, its principle operators were indicted, and when allowed to open again – ostensibly to pay back funds to US members – this quite simply did not take place. The massive surge in search results for this site are more than likely engendered by members and other interested parties, searching to see if there is any new news.
This poker site has been labeled a ‘Global Ponzi Scheme’ by the US Department of Justice. It has had its license revoked by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, with hearings held in private, much to stakeholders’ dismay. And now there is talk of a rescue by French investment company – Groupe Bernard Tapie.
They say they are still working constructively with FTP to seek a solution, and part of this solution has to be a deal with the DoJ. The DoJ however is looking to prosecute to the tune of $1 Billion in damages. These damages are consistent with the indictments for money laundering, operating an illegal online gambling business, and goodness knows what else. Add that to the fact that there are a pile of class action law suits outstanding, and that world-wide members of this site are owed approximately $300 million, and the whole mess is starting to look like more than a mere business bun-fight.
That having been said, apparently this type of business disaster is what Groupe Bernard Tapie does best. They have a signed agreement in place with the online poker site, and say that the agreement makes them comfortable in the fact that they can work productively. They also say that any agreement going forward has to be based on the fact that a deal has been worked out with the DoJ and that members will be paid back their outstanding funds. Even Groupe Bernard Tapie is not blind to the fact that the only true asset FTP has is their (by now) rather disgruntled members. Despite all of these obstacles, the French investment company says they are ‘optimistic’ right now. We have seen some optimism in our life-time, but never as much as this – it is actually quite remarkable when we pause to give it some thought.
Any agreement with the Department of Justice would have to be negotiated on a principle of paying them back over time, and the only way that this can be done is to have a fully operational online poker site. It takes some brass balls to be in the online gambling business today – especially in the USA!
Groupe Bernard Tapie has been brain-storming various ways of repaying funds, obviously without having to commit too much money from their own coffers; it is pointless throwing good money after bad, or so we have heard say!