Full Tilt’s Alderney Gambling Licenses Suspended Due To “Several Issues”
The executive director of the Alderney Gambling Control Commission says he decided to suspend five egambling licenses of Full Tilt Poker because of “several issues” that arose as part of a special investigation involving forensic auditors that was prompted by the U.S. government’s online poker crackdown.
“In our view it’s serious,” Andre Wilsenach, the executive director of the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, said in a few guarded comments, explaining his decision to suspend the licenses prior to a hearing scheduled on July 26. “The law allows me if I think it’s sufficiently serious and in the public interest that I can suspend it today until such time that we have a hearing.”
The headquarters of Full Tilt are in Dublin, Ireland, and four of its companies are licensed by the gambling regulatory body in Alderney, which is part of the Channel Islands. Wilsenach says those Full Tilt entities took out licenses between 2007 and January 2011, and show that Full Tilt is owned by Ray Bitar, Full Tilt’s chief executive. The move by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission orders Full Tilt to immediately suspend its operations and online poker play on Full Tilt appears to have halted in Europe.
“We obviously got grounds to believe that our licensee has acted not in accordance with the law,” said Wilsenach, adding that Full Tilt has been fully cooperating with the special investigation. He declined to elaborate on the nature of the findings of the special investigation, but said they would be publicly detailed at the scheduled July hearing in London.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan indicted Bitar in April, alleging that he had been operating an illegal gambling business, and moved to shut down Full Tilt Poker’s U.S. operations. Full Tilt continued operating outside the U.S. and Bitar has denied any wrongdoing. The U.S. Attorney in Manhattan also filed a civil money laundering lawsuit against Full Tilt. Since then Full Tilt has agreed not to facilitate for-money online poker in the U.S., but has struggled to pay back its U.S. players.
Earlier in June, Subject: Poker reported that Full Tilt was dealing with a $60 million shortfall that was the result of a practice of crediting player accounts despite being unable to debit funds from customers due to payment processing challenges.