Tilt on Tilt

by , Jul 26, 2011 | 6:51 am

The Full Tilt section 49 hearing in London is continuing. The hearing commissioners are apparently considering whether to continue the proceedings in camera (i.e., in private), further to Full Tilt’s lawyers’ strong contention that the hearing should not be held in the public glare. Joseph Ewens has written a good update on what’s happening here.

Right now, there is a great deal of frustration – even anger – at the prospect of the proceedings continuing behind closed doors. That’s understandable. Players are going on minimal information and want answers about what happened to their funds and when (if) they’ll be paid back. They also want to know if and how the AGCC could have monitored Tilt more closely.

Balanced against this are the facts that two alleged principals of Full Tilt are facing serious federal charges in the United States. Counsel to Tilt will do everything possible to avoid prejudicing those individuals’ interests in the SDNY proceedings. Furthermore, if there are – and I hope there are – negotiations to purchase assets and (crucially) assume player liabilities, there are likely confidentiality provisions embedded in those discussions. The confidentiality clauses are likely drafted such that they don’t apply to information ordered to be disclosed under applicable law by a court or administrative tribunal of competent jurisdiction. (If they’re not, the confidentiality provisions may be inapplicable, in part.) Let’s assume that the Alderney regulators fit this definition. Even so, counsel to Tilt can hardly be blamed for wanting to keep this outside of the public eye unless and until there’s a deal to report out.

I’m sympathetic to those who want this to continue in full view of an interested and informed public. I think the bottom line, however, is that I don’t necessarily see public hearings as being conducive to a transaction (again, if one is in the works). Unfortunately, I believe that the best hope for players getting paid back is for someone else to step in and cover the bill. If that means a private hearing to give a confidential update to the AGCC for now, we should endorse that – not happily, or enthusiastically, but in order to be realistic about the facts as we find them right now.

If this goes forward in camera and it turns out there’s no deal in the works or it turns out to be a stalling tactic, I expect that the Gambling Control Commission will throw this back into a public hearing, among other actions that they can take. For now, I think we should respect the process. There are some who feel that the AGCC can’t be trusted and is discredited for ‘allowing’ things with Tilt to get to this stage in the first place. I’m also sympathetic to that line of argument, but I don’t think that the possibility that US players’ interests will be served by having these proceedings go forward behind closed doors should be dismissed out of hand.

3 Comments to “Tilt on Tilt”

  1. Poker Shrink

    There’s Full Disclosure and there is the Full Monty clearly neither of those are appropriate. How about going forward we refer to the former Full Tilt as The Full Ponzi. 

    The business model is simply – you take in playing capital from poker players, you collect a rake. Then you use the rake to run your business and if there is extra, you call it profit and distribute it to your shareholders. Touching the player’s money is fraud, grand larceny and what did you expect from a bunch of poker players.

  2. Gamboler2

    Just a note from an interested but not invested party … the statement from AGCC executive director Andre Wilsenach earlier this month and remains on the AGCC website.

    “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.” Willingness to act transparently. Key words. The AGCC’s words.When it was used, could it have been that issues of prejudicial information and sensitive negotiations, that have been suggested as mitigating circumstance in closing the proceeding,  were not anticipated.

  3. WangDangDoodle

    AGCC should have rules similar to the regulations that required PokerStars to keep the player’s funds segregated.  The fact that either they did not have those rules or did not enforce them indicates to me that they were more concerned with collecting license fees than protecting the players.