Full Tilt Poker - the Once Leading Poker Room, A Ponzi Scheme?

Full Tilt

The Full Tilt Poker hearing with the Alderney Gambling Control Commission began on Monday 19th September. Find out the latest goings on here.

On Monday 19th September, 2011, one of the most historic days in online poker history occurred as the hearing into Full Tilt Poker’s licence suspension began.

The Alderney Gambling Control Commission were chairing the hearing that had the US Department of Justice battling against Full Tilt Poker behind closed doors after an eleventh hour request by Full Tilt Poker prevented the case from being in the eyes of the public.

Events have unfolded over the last week that have well and truly rocked the world of online poker. The leading story of the hearing so far is the claims from the prosecution that Full Tilt Poker was in fact a Ponzi scheme, set up to defraud thousands of innocent players of millions of dollars.

The founder of Full Tilt Poker, Raymond Bitar, and other board members including professional poker legends Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer are accused of intentionally using Full Tilt Poker to pay themselves $440 million made up of players’ money.

Chris Ferguson’s lawyer has immediately refuted these allegations claiming that there was never such a scheme in place and that the accusations are completely unfounded with the term Ponzi scheme being used in an inappropriate manner.

Full Tilt Poker has spent the last month trying to find investment after it ran into financial trouble after being indicted on 15th April, 2011 on accusations of money laundering and fraud. Despite some interest coming from European investors, the site has so far not found investment and the future of the site hangs in the balance.

The poker room initially succeeded in having the original hearing date adjourned and the re-scheduled date of 15th September, 2011 was also put back four days in order to allow Full Tilt Poker additional time to find new investment. However, time appears to be running out for what was one of the world’s largest online poker sites.

As the hearing draws to a close the silence is deafening. Many sectors of the gambling industry are speculating that this silence is because the news is not good for Full Tilt Poker and their licence has been permanently suspended. It is believed the silence could be due to Full Tilt Poker being allowed to inform its staff, including staff based at its headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, that they no longer have jobs. Whatever the conclusion, this whole spectacle has been a dark episode for online poker and the industry cannot wait until the grey cloud passes and poker can get back to hitting the headlines for the right reasons.