Those of you who thought that Full Tilt Poker had even the slimmest chance of surviving the loss of their gaming license and the US DoJ actions may want to rethink your position. Major news outlets throughout the world have been reporting that Full Tilt Poker is being labeled a Ponzi scheme by the New York US Attorney’s Office.
Having any involvement at all with a Ponzi scheme definitely doesn’t bode well for the poker site when looking back through history. The best case of a Ponzi scheme architect having the book thrown at him is Bernie Madoff, who is serving 150 years in prison for his role in what is believed to be the largest Ponzi scheme ever.
As for Full Tilt Poker, the implications of their case may not deal with the tens of billions that Madoff’s situation did, but it’s still bad nonetheless. After all, top personnel at Full Tilt like Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson are said to have taken a combined $440 million from Full Tilt Poker accounts. And this money wasn’t profits either, but rather cash coming directly from players’ accounts.
Now Full Tilt has already made the argument that they’re not a Ponzi scheme because this would imply that they lied to investors (players) about amazing returns that they’d be receiving; in reality, Full Tilt Poker only advertises and markets their site to encourage people to sign up and deposit. But on the other hand, you can’t exactly say that Full Tilt is free and clear of the Ponzi scheme label since they never disclosed to players that their deposits weren’t entirely backed.
All in all, this is merely shaping up to be a civil suit brought on by the US Attorney’s Office to recover lost players’ funds. However, it’s very likely that in the future, we could be seeing some major legal action against the top people at Full Tilt Poker.