03/27/2012 : INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF ALDERNEY’S HANDLING OF THE FULL TILT POKER DEBACLE PUBLISHED (Update)
 
Lessons learned, and in general regulator behaved appropriately says Peter Dean
 
Peter Dean CBE, a former chairman of the British Gambling Commission engaged by the Alderney Gaming Control Commission to study and assess its much criticised actions in the Full Tilt Poker debacle  published his independent report on the affair Tuesday.
 
The full report can he read here:
 
http://www.gamblingcontrol.org/userfiles/file/FTP%20Report%2026%20March%202012.pdf and involved interviews with many of those involved in the crisis, along with the inspection of numerous documents.
 
The licenses of Vantage Limited, Filco Limited, and Oxalic Limited, trading as Full Tilt Poker (FTP) were suspended by AGCC on 29th June 2011, and revoked by the AGCC Commissioners on 29th
 
The detail in the review includes recommendations concerning the availability of additional legal resources when needed to carry out investigations into licensee conduct.
 
Dean also recommends that the Commission needs to establish a more direct relationship with its licensees instead of relying on intermediaries.
 
He also suggests that Alderney should clearly set out on its website the level of player protection that it offers, and that licensees should be required to make that level of protection known to players.
 
There is also comment on instances of non-compliance by FTP and recommendations that oversight be tightened.
 
In the summary of his report, Dean says that, deplorable as the FTP episode was, it is nevertheless an example of regulation working as it should.
 
"As soon as plausible evidence of irregularities came to light the regulator acted promptly and proportionately. An investigation was instituted, findings made, a hearing held, judgment delivered and sanctions imposed. Due process was followed," Dean points out.
 
"This assessment will be of little comfort to the disaffected players who are still denied access to funds owed to them by FTP," he continues. "The tribunal proceedings in 2011 were adjourned for several weeks to allow time for a rescue package to be negotiated. When this failed, the Commissioners then properly decided that because of the seriousness of the allegations they should discharge their statutory duties without further delay."
 
Dean comments on lessons learned in the affair, saying that he is satisfied that AGCC Commissioners, the executive director and senior staff are clearly determined to make improvements as a result of the episode.
 
"My opinion overall is that AGCC fulfilled its statutory obligations in relation to FTP and that its actions were appropriate, timely and fair," Dean concludes.
 
The Alderney Gaming Control Commission was quick to issue a press release on the Dean report, noting that it welcomed the report’s findings and accepted its recommendations in full.
 
Executive director Andre Wilsenach said: "We believed it was important, given the sensitivities surrounding the revocation of Full Tilt Poker’s licenses, that an independent review should be carried out into the way in which the AGCC conducted itself throughout this process, and we are grateful that this has now been completed.
 
‘We wanted to reassure ourselves, and those who take an interest in our activities, that should mistakes have been made then we would recognise them, and if lessons could be learned that we would learn them.
 
"We note that today’s report finds that “AGCC fulfilled its statutory obligations in relation to
FTP and that its actions were appropriate, timely and fair.” That is the standard to which
we aspire.
 
"Nonetheless, Mr Dean’s report does make valuable recommendations on how we can make improvements in the light of what has happened. We accept those proposals and will seek to implement them as soon as practically possible.
 
"None of this, of course, will compensate those players who have lost money as a result of FTPs actions, and we have great sympathy for them. But, as the report confirms, a regulatory regime cannot be proof against deliberate concealment or deception. Our focus now is to assist other authorities to recover as much of the players’ funds as possible."
 
The statement concludes with an important assurance from a player perspective – that the Commission is already in advanced stages of implementing a new approach towards the protection of player funds on a risk-assessed basis.