Full Tilt Poker may be on its last legs. A little more than two months after having its .com domain name seized by the U.S., the online poker site (previously the world’s second largest), has had its gambling licensed revoked and has been forced to suspend all services as of today.
The Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) announced the suspension ahead of a regulatory hearing set for July 26 that will decide the company’s fate. That hearing is almost a month away, leaving a lot of time for players (and Full Tilt itself) to twist in the winds of uncertainty before a final decision is made.
In that time, it’s speculated that Full Tilt Poker may go out of business entirely.
The license suspension came as a result of the recent U.S. “Black Friday” crackdown.
“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 15 April 2011,” the commission stated.
“The decision to suspend the eGambling license 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,” said Andre Wilsenach, the AGCC’s executive director.
The statement went on to claim that Full Tilt Poker was “operating contrary to Alderney legislation” because of its defiance of U.S. law. “The nature of the findings necessitated the taking of immediate action in the public interest.”
Full Tilt has struggled more than its rival PokerStars with the U.S. online poker shutdown. Although PokerStars has paid out some funds back to players, Full Tilt Poker has yet to do so.
In fact, its failure to pay players has resulted in its former star, Phil Ivey, boycotting the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in protest against his former employer.
The AGCC is a small regulatory body of a chairman and three members, apparently politically independent, that regulates online gambling on behalf of the Alderney states, a group of islands in the Channel Islands between the UK and France. They’re not under the jurisdiction of the UK or the EU.
Whatever you think of Full Tilt’s current situation, the speed with which the company has gone from one of the world’s most popular poker brands — with globally televised sponsorships and the support of pros like Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, Erik Seidel, Tom Dwan, and many others — to its current state of affairs is startling and deeply disturbing to many in the online gaming industry.
Currently, Full Tilt’s website reads “Scheduled Maintenance In Progress: The system is currently down for maintenance. Please check back soon!”