This past Sunday, Tom Dwan published a few of his thoughts on Twitter which didn’t exactly reassure Full Tilt poker players. The Full Tilt sponsored poker star, in a series of tweets, said the following:
“Lotsa ppl pming me n messaging on twitter w/o having read up on what I said. If worst case happens I’ll pay in a fair way, and that won’t Involve paying individuals jus b/c they messaged me a lot. Timeline was late 2012 I think (or anytime I’m >90%ish of ftp not paying out) That said let’s hope everything gets resolved n I can keep my $$s to spend on some goofy stuff that I’ll thinkup later.”
Dwan was referring to a guarantee he made after Black Friday, where he stated that he would “guarantee $1M in payouts from FTP/Stars. If they somehow don’t pay, I’ll figure out a fair way to disperse it, and send out all the gelt over crypto gambling 2012.” Headlines have been rife with speculation on the future of Full Tilt, but to this day, little is certain.
Full Tilt’s situation was further complicated today. The Full Tilt legal team interrupted the Alderney Gambling Control Commission hearings which began today, asking that the proceedings be put behind closed doors without access by the press. One of Full Tilt’s legal representatives, Martin Heslop, said, “It is not in the interest of justice that this should be aired in public. There is a real risk that it may be detrimental to these interests and highly prejudicial to this decision.” Heslop cited “highly commercially sensitive information” which will be discussed in the hearings which would result in a “highly damaging effect” if done publicly.
The Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) denied the request, and continued with the hearings. The AGCC recently took away Full Tilt’s gambling license. In response to the AGCC’s denial of a private hearing, the Full Tilt team engaged in a stalemate, refusing to cooperate with the proceedings. AGCC officials finally agreed to ask press to exit the hearing room, where private discussions then began in earnest.
Full Tilt’s actions during these hearings, and Dwan’s cryptics tweets, do not indicate a strong bargaining position for the poker site, or a successful outcome. However at this point, speculation is the only certainty to be had.
888 Poker is reportedly in late stage talks with Caesars Entertainment Group, with the UK-based company seriously interested in attaining an online poker license in Nevada. With recent legislation, Nevada has positioned itself to license and regulate online poker sites. However, Nevada can only do so if the federal government passes a bill to legalize online poker first. Despite this, 888 Poker is taking the initiative to seek out a strategic partnerships with existing Nevada powerhouses. At this point, they are best positioned to become the first foreign poker group to attain a Nevada license, if and when the federal government passes the appropriate legislation.
A Nevada license granted to an outside provider, thanks to the history and tightly-run regulatory groups of the state, would lend gravitas and legitimacy to any brand. Caesars is the world’s largest casino company and, combined with the power of a Nevada gaming license, would provide exceptional opportunity for branding and expansion. 888 Poker is also reported to be exploring opportunities to expand into Spain. Spain is currently on the brink of legalizing online poker.
Although the United States still remains without legalization of online poker or a regulation system for the industry, it is only a matter of time before both of these are put into place. Recent attempts include the Nevada legislation and a bill put forward in the House of Representatives by Texas Rep. Joe Barton. Legalization of online poker is, thankfully, not a partisan issue, with Democrats and Republicans each supporting different ills.