The Full Tilt Poker account reimbursement process from Garden City Group (GCG) has been painfully slow for American players. After nearly three years of waiting, the first players who submitted applications to recover their account balances finally started seeing that money come back to them earlier this year, ending a saga that at one time seemed hopeless to many former customers.
Now, another prominent group of players may be on the verge of recovering their balances, ones that in some cases may be very significant. Garden City Group has announced that they’ve received approval from the US government to process reimbursement applications for those players that Full Tilt had classified as “professional players,” including some of the more prominent high stakes players on the site.
“A professional player is anyone who was designated as a ‘Pro’ in the data supplied by FTP, other than Team Full Tilt,” said the Full Tilt claims administrator. “This includes Red Pros, Friends of Full Tilt and other players.”
The announcement means that the core group of Full Tilt pros, those Team Full Tilt players seen in promotional efforts for the site and who may have had a stake in the business itself, will still be left out of the refund efforts. However, other players with a working relationship with the site can now make an attempt to recover their account balances.
There are limits to what these players can claim, however. Only funds related to “poker transactions” are eligible for recovery, which means that any payments made to the players directly from Full Tilt cannot be reimbursed. However, it’s worth noting that rakeback payments have been determined by the Department of Justice (DoJ) to constitute a poker transaction (as they are a refund of fees, rather than a form of compensation), and can be included in the funds requested by professional players.
On the other hand, affiliate payments and other such payments are not eligible under the terms of this reimbursement. In some cases, there may be a dispute over what exactly a payment constitutes. In these cases, players have been requested to provide evidence to show the nature of these transactions so that CGC can make the most accurate determination of how much money should be given back to each player.
Players that were designated by Full Tilt as professional players were made aware of the latest round of applications in a notice sent out on August 4. These players now have until September 3 to file a petition for remission of their funds.
The remissions process is the result of a settlement between the US federal government and PokerStars, which took control of Full Tilt Poker’s assets in the agreement. Under that deal, PokerStars took responsibility for the account balances of all international players, while the DoJ was tasked with determining how to return funds to Americans using the money forfeited by PokerStars in the settlement.
Remissions to American players began arriving earlier this year. So far, approximately $95 million has been returned to players, not including individuals who have disputed their account balances and the professional players who have yet to be processed.
Earlier this month, both PokerStars and Full Tilt were purchased by Amaya, Inc. as a part of their acquisition of the Rational Group.