The aftershock from April’s ‘Black Friday’ continues to send tremors throughout the online poker industry with website Full Tilt Poker having their licences suspended by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) this morning.
April 15, of course, witnessed the closure of several poker websites by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to American customers, but this latest development will most likely affect every player signed up to Full Tilt Poker.
The AGCC decision means the poker site has been forced to stop all operations from the island without delay – resulting in punters being met with a message on the poker site’s homepage that abruptly states: “The system is currently down for maintenance. Please check back soon!”
While that is patently untrue, it will be of great interest to millions of poker players around the world what the future holds as their accounts are now also suspended.
AGCC executive director André Wilsenach revealed that “the decision to suspend the eGambling licence was in the public interest and, because of the seriousness and urgency of the matter, it required that immediate action be taken ahead of the regulatory hearing”.
The AGCC released a statement this morning, but later added that a hearing has now been scheduled for Tuesday, July 26, in London.
As a result – and at least until the suspension notices are ended – Full Tilt has to stop taking on new customers, accepting deposits from existing clients, allowing present customers to withdraw money held in accounts, and cannot allow customers to take part in any type of poker or gambling operation.
Of course, poker superstar Phil Ivey recently hit out at Full Tilt over their refusal to allow American clients access to their accounts, with the 35-year-old – who has boycotted the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in support of those players – suing the website for alleged damages done to his reputation by their lack of positive action.
The company immediately responded by suggesting Ivey’s comments were “sanctimonious” and his upcoming lawsuit “frivolous”.
However, Ivey appears to have hit the nail on the head with his heavy criticism of Full Tilt, while Canadian poker star Daniel Negreanu also seems to be correct in his assumption that the website’s angry response to the American’s lawsuit was “shocking” and particularly unprofessional.
The AGCC’s initial statement – with Wilsenach’s name attached as the issuer – reads as follows:
“Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) has today issued Hearing Notices under Regulation 46 of its Regulations to Vantage Ltd, Oxalic Ltd, Filco Ltd and Orinic Ltd, collectively trading as FULL TILT POKER.
“In addition, AGCC has issued Suspension Notices under Regulation 47 to the above named companies requiring them to suspend all operations with immediate effect.
“The decision to suspend these licenses follows a special investigation prompted by the indictments unsealed by US Attorney General’s Office in the Southern District of New York on 15th April 2011, during which grounds were found to indicate that these licensees and their business associates were operating contrary to Alderney legislation. The nature of the findings necessitated the taking of immediate action in the public interest.
“The venue and date for the hearing will be announced in due course.”
Alderney is the most northerly of the Channel Islands and is part of the Bailiwick (or area of jurisdiction) of Guernsey – a British Crown dependency.