Poker players from all over the world swamped poker forums this evening with condemnation for the Alderney Gaming Control Commission (AGCC) and the way in which it had been given the run-around by representatives of Full Tilt Poker at a hearing scheduled to resolve issues connected with the suspension of Full Tilt Poker´s operating licence on June 29th.
The hearing at London´s Park Plaza Victoria Hotel had been organised by the AGCC “to make public evidence from both AGCC and Full Tilt regarding the suspension of Full Tilt’s licence and to adjudicate the findings transparently.” Executive Director of AGCC, André Wilsenach, had added “AGCC’s choice to hold a public hearing in to the future of Full Tilt Poker demonstrates our willingness to act transparently and we will welcome members of the public and the media. As ever at all times, our primary concern is the protection of the player.”
However, one of the first manoeuvres by Full Tilt Poker (FTP) lawyer Martin Heslop was to request that the hearing was adjourned in order not to jeopardise ongoing negotiations for the partial sale of FTP to a European investor. Although being widely anticipated by many industry professionals, it appeared that the AGCC did not know how to respond to this and, despite the transaction being rumoured for many weeks, had to go into private conference to consider the application.
On first review, the AGCC decided to continue, but after lawyers from FTP refused to co-operate with proceedings, a private meeting was organised between the two sides to discuss if the hearing was to continue and, if so, on what terms. It transpired during the meeting that FTP owed the AGCC £250.000 in unpaid licence fees and had no intention of paying this amount if it was not going to get its licence back.
The commission then agreed to FTPs request for a private hearing on the matter of an adjournment and ordered the press and the players from the room. “What about the players?” screamed UK poker player Harry Demetriou as he was shepherded out. But the promises of André Wilsenach (above) were completely put aside and the hearing continued behind closed doors.
Throughout the private hearing, speculation on the poker forums and social media grew about what was going on in the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel, with many saying that the private hearing was a good thing should it bring a resolution to the money tied up in Full Tilt Poker´s bank accounts. However, when the announcement came at 17.45 GMT that the hearing was indeed going to be adjourned (until 15th September) tempers flared on the Internet – accusing the AGCC of being a joke and taking more interest in the £¼ million owed to them than the hundreds of millions owed to players around the world.
No doubt their rage will continue long into the night.