Full Tilt Poker and Government Reach Agreement, Can Continue Operating Abroad

April 20, 2011

Since this past weekend, MMAPayout has been providing an in-depth look at the recent indictment against major online poker sites, including Full Tilt Poker (“FTP”), and what it means to the MMA world.

Following up on this story, yesterday the “United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (“this Office”) and the defendant Vantage Limited d/b/a/ Full Tilt Poker” entered into an agreement “in which this Office agrees to grant FTP access to, and use of, the defendant-in-rem domain name fulltiltpoker.com (the “Domain”) for certain limited purposes . . .”

At the outset, the agreement makes clear that FTP’s access to the domain under the agreement is contingent on FTP no longer providing the ability for (or facilitating) U.S. based poker players from engaging in online poker for “real money.”

Specifically, the agreement provides:

FTP hereby agrees that for the duration of the Agreement, it will not allow for, facilitate, or provide the ability for players located in the United States to engage in playing online poker for “real money” or any other thing of value.

That said, the agreement expressly allows for online play outside the United States:

The Agreement does not prohibit, and, in fact, expressly allows for, FTP to provide for, and facilitate, players outside of the United States to engage in playing online poker for real money through the Domain, or any other domain names, sub-domain names, websites, or Internet-based means of communication under the control of FTP.

While I don’t know enough about FTP’s revenue stream, i.e. how much comes from abroad as opposed to the U.S., this may somewhat mitigate against the negative effect the indictment has on the MMA world.

The agreement also provides a bit of good news for U.S. based poker players as FTP has been given access to its domain to facilitate the withdrawal of funds held in accounts with FTP by U.S. based poker players:

This Agreement does not prohibit, and, in fact, expressly allows for, FTP to utilize the Domain (and any other forms of communication) to facilitate the withdrawal of U.S. players’ funds held in account with FTP. While withdrawal of funds is expressly permitted, the deposit of funds by U.S. players is expressly prohibited. FTP agrees that any financial transactions with players located in the United States shall be strictly limited to the return of those players’ funds held in account with FTP.

So it looks like U.S. account holders will be given the opportunity to request withdrawals from their FTP accounts.

With respect to its term, the agreement provides as follows:

This Agreement shall remain in place until: (i) the conclusion of the litigation in United States v. PokerStars, et. al., 11 Civ. 2564 (LBS) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York; (ii) a superseding Agreement is reached between this Office and FTP; or (iii) this Office and FTP mutually agree to terminate the Agreement.

Finally, the agreement provides that it “does not constitute an admission of liability as to any matter nor a consent to jurisdiction.”

Fight Lawyer

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Justin Klein is a partner of the law firm Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke LLP in New York City where he concentrates his practice in commercial litigation and represents clients in the fight industry.  He regularly addresses current legal issues that pertain to combat sports, including efforts to legalize MMA in New York, at his Fight Lawyer website.  He is a licensed boxing manager with the New York State Athletic Commission as well as the founder and Chairman of the Board of the New York Mixed Martial Arts Initiative, a non-profit organization that gives inner city youth the opportunity to experience the emotional and physical benefits of martial arts training.  Justin lives in New York City where he trains in jiu jitsu and boxing.

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One Response to “Full Tilt Poker and Government Reach Agreement, Can Continue Operating Abroad”

  1. L. Buron on July 26th, 2011 5:37 PM

    Will we beable to play on Full tilt poker for chip only, not real money

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