Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars Rumors -- Major Hurdle
by Matt Glantz | Published: Jul 17, '12
There would be few things better for the poker community than a successful closure to the disaster that was once known as Full Tilt. A finale that would include the players getting all of their money back would not only be a large infusion of funds back into the player pool, but it would also bring a much more delightful atmosphere in poker rooms across our country. All of us in the poker world are of course cheering for some magic resolution of the Full Tilt Saga currently involving a PokerStars buyout of the company. Unfortunately I see one major hurdle that stops this idea from happening in the current political environment.
One can assume that there are two major reasons PokerStars would be interested in coming to a deal with the DOJ. First to avoid U.S. prosecution in any way and secondly to be allowed to operate legally in the U.S. There is a major problem I see with the latter.
The DOJ has no power in who or what the states allow in their online world. The DOJ can cut any deal they want with PokerStars to free them and their principals from federal prosecution. They can agree not to block PokerStars from coming back into the U.S. in the future. But the problem lies in that the DOJ has no power over the states. How do they insist that the states allow PokerStars to operate in each jurisdiction? The current situation is that each of our ‘gambling’ states is one of a major political presence that is mostly controlled by Caesars (Harrahs). I am not knocking Caesars in any way. I am just stating the reality of it all. It would only make smart business sense for Caesars to do whatever it can to block PokerStars at all costs from getting back in the states. They don’t want that formidable competition in the inevitable multi-billion dollar online gaming industry that will happen in the U.S. Caesars is obviously prepared for this future and they can plainly see the difference between a PokerStars involved U.S. online market and a non-PokerStars U.S. online market. One is which Caesars would surely dominate.
Although I would like to believe this deal will get done to repay the players I have considerable doubts that this will actually happen from this current deal. These latest rumors and ‘almost’ press releases have been bombarding us for months now.
It is unfortunate that the poker playing public with funds tied up in the FTP accounts has been fed these continually ongoing false hopes. The Full Tilt representatives that have been telling everyone since Black Friday that everything will be fine. They are working on deals to get the players paid and there have always been all these ‘potential suitors’. Thinking back from day one they all look like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off. From telling us they had a deal worked out originally until Ivey’s lawsuit ‘ruined’ that endeavor; to Tapie is going to buy all of the assets and pay back the players (I had discussed how ludicrous this was at the time) ; to now PokerStars wants to buy the FTP assets at any costs. I got a ton of backlash when I wrote that article about Tapie/Full Tilt back in February.
I discussed what a joke this company Tapie was. How their actions in the recent months before February were not the actions of a true acquirer. More the actions of some sort of dog and pony show trying to pull a fast one on the DOJ and the players. Some FTP shareholders told me “to keep your mouth shut; you don’t know what you are talking about; you are bad for poker; Tapie is the real thing – it’s a done deal.” Well, several weeks later, as expected, the Tapie illusion began to unravel publicly.
The reality of the matter is that none of the Full Tilt guys have any control over what is going on now. It is strictly in the hands of the DOJ. They make all the decisions now. I find it laughable when any of the shareholders tells me anything they “know” about the situation anymore.
I try to deal in reality and common sense, not hopes and dreams. At the time of me writing this one major shareholder has specifically told me to my face, “It is a done deal with PokerStars and was supposed to be completed last week but had to be pushed pack for …. blah blah blah.”. I hope he is correct. But unfortunately in my mind it is only hope and nothing else.
BTW – Just like last time, I really hope I am wrong and this latest rumored deal goes through.