In September, Garden City Group (GCG), the U.S. Department of Justice-appointed claims administrator for U.S. Full Tilt Poker customer funds, issued a list of people who were to be excluded from the remission process. It relaxed one of the restrictions in October and now this month, according to Poker Players Alliance (PPA) Vice President of Player Relations Rich “The Engineer” Muny, it has now eased up on another.
Specifically, GCG will now permit Full Tilt’s “red pros” who were not members of Team Full Tilt to file a claim for lost poker funds. “Red pros” were sponsored players, but unlike members of Team Full Tilt, they did not have any sort of ownership stake in the company. They were simply players who were being paid to both play on the site and represent it publicly.
The news of the change was posted by Muny on his Facebook page:
I have a new update from the Department of Justice’s communications with PPA. Many former Full Tilt Poker “red pros” who were not members of Team Full Tilt had previously been informed by FTP Claims Administrator Garden City Group that they would not be eligible for remission. It was unclear if they were being grouped with Team Full Tilt (Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, etc.) — a group deemed ineligible by name by the DoJ — or if they were deemed de facto employees due to their sponsorships and denied on that basis. Either way, that did not seem fair. These were simply sponsorships, akin to a sponsored golfer or race car driver.
So, in the course of our discussions with DoJ on the broader issues we face, PPA brought up this issue. DoJ just emailed PPA (and I have the actual email, so I am accurately relating its contents) on the matter. They have reversed the decision to exclude them for now and have sent this back for further review, with a firm understanding that these players are not Team Full Tilt.
He concluded by praising the Department of Justice, saying, “DoJ could have easily said these players are de facto employees with a simple, ‘did they get paid by the hour?’ It’s a great reconsideration on their part IMO and I’m glad they see it as the right thing to do.”
As Muny said, “red pros” may have been lumped in with Team Full Tilt, which was one of the seven groups of people GCG explicitly excluded. They also may have been considered employees, the first group of people on the exclusion list. Either way, “red pros” did not fit either group and everyone in the poker community knew it. Fortunately, the DoJ was willing to be educated.
Those newly eligible “red pros” will need to hurry, as the deadline to submit a claim for funds is November 16th. Word is that GCG hopes to get payments made to former Full Tilt poker customers during the first quarter of 2014.