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Full Tilt, AGCC Make Statements in Advance of Hearing
Full Tilt Poker may finally find out if the Alderney Gambling Control Commission will renew its gaming license on Monday, but the public won’t be invited.
In advance of the hearing, both the AGCC and Full Tilt Poker released statements today addressing Monday’s hearing and FTP's financial future.
The statement from the AGCC specifically addressed why the hearing will take place in private - despite the preference of AGCC Executive Director André Wilsenach.
“I am pleased that the FTP hearing will continue as scheduled, as was argued on my behalf. However, I am disappointed with the tribunal’s decision that, notwithstanding my arguments to the contrary, the hearing will be held in private.
"I believe the public has a right to know the reasoning behind the decisions to suspend FTP’s licences and call a hearing, and to hear the evidence that will be put forward on my behalf.
"It is my understanding that the tribunal conducted a difficult balancing exercise of the interests of the various parties, taking into account the legal arguments for and against further postponing the hearing, and for and against allowing the public to attend the proceedings.”
The impending hearing has already been postponed twice, first from the original date on July 26th and then later pushed back from the rescheduled date of Sept. 15th to the 19th. The most recent delay was due to “logistical” issues.
Full Tilt's statement, on the other hand, spoke more to its ongoing "cost optimization" efforts and its continuing belief it will secure a strategic investor, pay back all players and have a strong future in non-US markets.
"On April 15th 2011 the United States Department of Justice unsealed a federal indictment against a number of individuals employed by major online poker operators. After the issuance of that indictment and a related civil case brought by the United States government, Full Tilt Poker withdrew from the US market.
"Then in a related action, on June 29th, 2011, Full Tilt Poker had its operating licenses suspended by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission."
"As a result, Pocket Kings Ltd. (provider of marketing and technology services to Full Tilt Poker) has adopted a cost optimization program and estimates that they need to reduce their costs by approximately €12m.
"This program is intended to streamline the company’s operations in order to better position itself for future growth and profitability in Full Tilt Poker’s markets outside of the U.S."
"If all of the required cost savings were to be achieved through redundancies, approximately 250 positions could be affected; however the exact number cannot be confirmed until the conclusion of a consultation process with its workforce."
"Notwithstanding the foregoing, Pocket Kings firmly believes it has a very strong future in Full Tilt Poker’s Non-US Markets, and is fully committed to ensuring Full Tilt Poker restores the site and repay players in full.
"To this end, Full Tilt Poker has retained Sea Port Group Securities, LLC as its financial advisor with regard to raising capital and/or assisting in securing a strategic partner in order to fund continued operations of Full Tilt Poker's non-U.S. business.
"The Company is in active discussions with several parties and will provide a further statement in due course."
The upcoming hearing will decide if Full Tilt will be allowed to once again offer its services to non-U.S. markets.
Full Tilt finally issued a press release in mid-August that blamed its silence on ongoing negotiations with investors that required confidentiality.
The company also mentioned the U.S. government had seized approximately $115 million prior to Black Friday.
Towards the end of August one of Full Tilt’s attorneys, Jeff Ifrah, went on the 2+2 poker forums to answer questions related to the company’s future.
According to Ifrah the hearing still stands a chance of being delayed if Full Tilt is able to demonstrate that progress has been made towards finding an investor.
At the end of the month, however, Ifrah asked the court for permission to step down from the case citing “an unreasonable financial burden on the law firm.”
Meanwhile players’ Full Tilt Poker accounts - estimated to hold well over $150 million - remain in limbo and have not been released.