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ALDERNEY ONLINE GAMBLING REGULATOR TO REVIEW PROCESSES
Wednesday October 12, 2011 : Full Tilt Poker debacle suggests the need for a fresh look at financial requirements
The British Broadcasting Corporation reported Tuesday that the AlderneyGambling Control Commission is to hold a review following the Full Tilt Poker debacle, and the Commission's revocation of that operator's licence.
The Commission’s executive director, Andre Wilsenach, confirmed that a review is to be held following the scandal, which has left large numbers of online poker players around the globe unpaid since US enforcement actions on Black Friday shut down the company.
The Commission ruled last month that the online gambling firm misled authorities over its finances, the BBC reports. It said Full Tilt had continuously reported funds, used to cover what users held in their online accounts, that were not actually available.
Wilsenach told the BBC that the AGCC would look into what went wrong.
"I think it's important we learn from experiences," he said. "We will certainly review our processes in the light of this particular experience and we might introduce changes if we find that there are things that we could do better from our side."
However, Alderney's problems may be exacerbated by a legal attack from another source.
On Tuesday Poker News reported that high profile poker pro Antanas “Tony G” Guoga has announced his intention to pursue legal action against the AGCC, claiming that the Commission was negligent in the handling of the Full Tilt Poker (FTP) situation, failed to exhibit due diligence for their licensees and should be held responsible.
Poker News reports that the legal action being considered hinges on allegations that the AGCC knew there was a problem involving player funds prior to the Black Friday indictments, were negligent in their handling of the situation; and therefore, ought to be held responsible.
“We believe they [the AGCC] knew about it a long time ago,” Guoga told Poker News. “That security for the players’ money was not there, they hid this fact together with their auditors for years, benefiting in return. We raised it with them and they knew then and there.”
Guoga is involved in the Isle of Man poker consultancy Vont Limited, whose CEO, Jon Sykes, joined him in criticising the AGCC.
"The security statement for the players’ money was not there, this was raised with them, and they knew that FTP was in breach of regulations back in December 2010," said Sykes.
Poker News notes that not having a designated clause in FTP’s Terms & Conditions was against AGCC regulations, a fact Tony G and company claim the AGCC ignored for many months, constituting negligence.
The publication notes that FTP did add a statement regarding player funds to its site around the end of February or beginning of March 2011, stating they were not segregated: "Customer funds are not segregated from company funds, but it is the intention of Filco Ltd to meet its liabilities as they fall due," this statement announced.
In a statement to Poker News, Guoga said: "Surely such a breach of the regulations for such a long period prior to the omission being highlighted to the AGCC by Sykes in late 2010 must have initiated a full review of the operator and its financial position by that stage, which then begs the question, how long did they know about the precarious financial position before they finally pulled the plug following the DOJ indictments? We want to prove that they have responsibility, we are coming after them.”
And Sykes contends: “It appears likely that this statement was added to the site as a result of my contact and the Commission’s subsequent investigations. Obviously, before the issues with the [Black Friday] indictments this was perceived to be more of a minor clerical issue for the Alderney regulators and FTP but now I wonder if there was more to it.”
"Sykes and Vont Limited will manage the claim and are currently in discussions with legal advisers. In addition, it is expected that a channel will be opened for players to join the complaint and submit information regarding their balances," the Poker News report concludes.
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