According to various sources, the deal between the embattled online poker site Full Tilt Poker and its supposed savior, the French investment firm Groupe Bernard Tapie, is set to be finalized, potentially as early as tomorrow.
The noted gaming magazine eGaming Review has stated that the deal between the two companies should be completed within the next week or two, but another outlet is predicting an even faster completion. The online site Gaming Intelligence has reported that the deal may be completed as early as tomorrow. In their analysis, Gaming Intelligence states that “Tapie and the owners of Full Tilt…extended their deadline for completion of the deal to this Friday (March 16)…sources on both sides are confident that the deadline will be met.”
The deal is still for the previously reported $80 million price that many in the poker world have talked about, but other obstacles that have delayed the deal going through seem to have been resolved. One of those issues was professional poker players – allegedly such names as Phil Ivey, Layne Flack, Erick Lindgren, Barry Greenstein, Mike Matusow and others – who allegedly owed as much as $20 million to Full Tilt Poker for outstanding loans that the site had previously issued them. Indications are that a deal has been struck between the players and Groupe Bernard Tapie to pay these loans back, eliminating this obstacle.
Groupe Bernard Tapie has also set in motion talks with Full Tilt’s previous license outlet, theAlderney Gambling Control Commission, to relicense the site and, in an apparent move to further impact the European market, is also looking for a Spanish license. Spain introduced new regulations earlier this year regarding their online gaming market.
The news for international players who have had their money tied up on the site since its shutdown in September 2011 appears to be good. Groupe Bernard Tapie has allegedly lined up an investor that will provide funding for international players who want to cash out, which could amount to as much as $300 million. For U. S. players, however, the news isn’t as good; previously, the proposed Groupe Bernard Tapie/Full Tilt deal would put the onus of payment of American players on the U. S. Department of Justice (estimated to be $150 million), although full details of that action have yet to be released.
Once the deal is put in place, it is estimated that it will take approximately four weeks for Groupe Bernard Tapie to get a reborn Full Tilt Poker up and running with the appropriate licensing. Ironically, this four week time frame would put a potential restart of Full Tilt around April 15 – the one year anniversary of the “Black Friday” indictments by the U. S. Department of Justice that sent Full Tilt Poker on its downward spiral.
The 2011 indictment of Full Tilt Poker’s alleged owners – Ray Bitar and Nelson Burtnick – as a part of the “Black Friday” case by the U. S. government started the dominoes falling for what was, at the time, the second largest online poker site in the world. Although Full Tilt Poker continued to operate for worldwide customers following the indictment, the site suffered severe drops in player numbers because of its high volume of American players. The news would only get worse as the year wore on for Full Tilt Poker.
In June, the AGCC suspended the license of Full Tilt Poker after the regulatory body found several irregularities in Full Tilt’s accounting practices. After a suspended hearing in July, the AGCC fully revoked Full Tilt’s license in September, citing “serious breaches of AGCC regulations (including) false reporting, unauthorized provision of credit and failure to report material events.”
While the deal would bring back a once-proud player in the online world back into the game, there is some skepticism regarding the subject. On the Two Plus Two forum, poster ‘LizardPenguin’ wrote, “What’s the incentive for Euro players to come and play? It’s been closed for a year now (and) most players have moved on. I used to play at FTP but, at this point, I don’t see any reason to move back.” Poster ‘Marwan,’ on the other hand, looks at the positive, stating, “I’d assume there will be some big bonuses as incentive to play.”
After a situation that has all the aspects of a Shakespearian tragedy over the past year, the epilogue to this dark spot of Full Tilt’s history might soon be written. Poker News Daily will have details regarding the fluctuating Groupe Bernard Tapie/Full Tilt Poker situation as it comes available.