Earlier last week, Forbes posted an article which stated that certain members of the Department of Justice are not comfortable with paying online poker players the monies they earned while playing poker at Full Tilt. The DOJ is considering only paying players their initial deposits instead of monies they earned with their deposited cash.
The Poker Players Alliance is trying to educate the DOJ on why they should pay players their full balances from Full Tilt Poker, and John Pappas, the executive director of the PPA, spoke with Pocket Fives just two days after the Forbes article posted to comment on why players deserve their full payment.
Forbes stated in the article the argument as to why United States poker players should be paid their deposits back minus their winnings. The statement read: “The Department of Justice has consistently taken the position that online poker violates U.S. law. This position is what led to [Preet] Bharara’s crackdown on the online poker industry in 2011, the shutdown of the U.S.-facing websites of PokerStars and Full Tilt, the indictment of 11 individuals, and a $3 billion civil forfeiture lawsuit.”
Forbes further stated: “Since online poker is a no-no, according to the Federal Government, lawyers working for the Government are not so sure that the Department of Justice should be paying out money that was won in online poker games.”
While speaking with PocketFives, Pappas stated that no decision has yet to be made on what type of payment US players will be receiving. Pappas commented: “I don’t see any way they would make any determination that just deposits would be the rational move it’s simply much easier to pay off account balances. It’s also consistent with what they’ve already allowed for. They already allowed PokerStars to repay full account balances. They had given Full Tilt permission to do so as well, but it was then they found out that Full Tilt didn’t have the money to pay players back.”
Pappas also stated that the argument stating that player balances are a product of illegal gambling is ‘specious’. Pappas stated that he would challenge anyone to show him how federal law states that it is illegal for players to play online poker. “The winnings are not rake; it is players’ money. Overall, there are a number of reasons from the logistical side, historical side, and legal side for why they should pay players’ account balances in full,” stated Pappas.
PocketFives asked Pappas is the arguments in historical, logistical and legal sense all point to players receiving their balances in full from Full Tilt Poker then why is there a debate. Pappas responded by stating: “No one said what the process will be one way or the other, so there is debate. I think it’s best for us to educate the DOJ on why refunding 100% of players’ balances make sense and hopefully they’ll make that determination.”
Pappas was also asked as to how long payments will take once the framework has been created for repayment. Pappas commented that repayment will be a major undertaking. Pappas commented that it is better to get the repayment right than go through the process too fast as problems could result.
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