At its height, Full Tilt Poker was one of the top online poker sites in the world. The site was home to millions of poker players, among whom were some of the best players in the world. Despite all of the success, it is the recent legal troubles that have overshadowed the company’s success.
Last week, players received their first glimpse of hope that they would be paid back after Black Friday saw their accounts at Full Tilt frozen. Laurent Tapie, known for taking struggling companies and turning them into a financial success, had reached an agreement to purchase Full Tilt.
The trouble for the players is that certain legal requirements must be met before the purchase would become complete. If those requirements are met, Tapie believes he can turn around the fortunes of a once-proud online poker site.
“Full Tilt Poker is injured but not dead,” said Tapie, as reported by the New York Times. “We are going to put all the money into the company we need to to please the players. They are the key asset, above all.”
The first round of money invested would go to paying back players with money in their accounts. Although the accounts are frozen, none of the millions of players with outstanding balances have been paid. If Tapie wants to regain trust in Full Tilt, he will have to make paying these customers a priority, something he fully understands.
The gambling industry is one that Tapie maintains is forgiving. On Monday, Tapie spoke of how gamblers will come back, because gambling is something that is “inside the human being.” That does not sound like a person who expects Full Tilt to fall flat in the future.
The legal troubles stem from the US Department of Justice’s indictment against the company earlier this year. The indictment, and subsequent charges have damaged Full Tilt’s reputation. Juts a couple of weeks ago, the company was labeled a Ponzi scheme by US authorities.
Interestingly, Tapie holds the assumption that the US market may be closed for now, but that he could see the market opening up in the future. Even if online poker is regulated in the US, it is unlikely after this summer’s indictment that Full Tilt would be tapped to receive a license to operate in the country.