A Guide to Full Tilt Poker Remissions for U.S. Players

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Last updated 1/24/14

On September 16th, the Garden City Group (GCG), hired by the U.S. Department of Justice, began the process of remissions for U.S. players with a remaining balance on Full Tilt Poker.

You can file a petition on the FullTiltPokerClaims.com web site.

The deadline for filing was November 16, 2013 – but the GCG is still accepting petitions (see below).

The following information is not legal advice and should not be taken as such. Instead, it represents a general guide to the remissions process culled from sources such as player reports and  information from the GCG .

I thought the deadline had passed. Can I still file?

As of November 22nd, yes.

The official deadline for filing did pass on November 16th. But the GCG recently announced that they are continuing to accept petitions, updating their FAQ to read: “If you have not yet submitted your Petition, you may still do so. However, please be advised that there is no guarantee that late-filed Petitions will be accepted.”

When will I get my Full Tilt Poker funds returned?

If you have completed the petition process, accepted the balance figure provided by the GCG and your petition is approved, you should expect to receive payment by March 31st, 2014 (per a recent announcement from the GCG).

There are currently no payment timeframes for players who don’t meet the conditions described above.

Your Petition Filing Numbers

The first step to filing a petition is to obtain your Petition Number and Control Number from GCG. As a Full Tilt player, you should have received an email from GCG with these numbers, or possibly a postcard in the mail if your original FTP email is no longer valid.

What if I didn’t get an email from the GCG?

If you do not receive the e-mail (or postcard) with your filing numbers, call GCG at (866) 250-2640. They should be able to give you the numbers over the phone.

You can also take the following steps:

  1. Check the e-mail address you had registered on FTP.
  2. Check your spam folder (e-mails were sent from FullTiltClaimsAdministrat[email protected] with the subject: Full Tilt Claims Administration Notice).
  3. Request the numbers from GCG by e-mail providing your FTP Player ID (screen name), full name, full address and email address (old and new if it has changed) at: [email protected].com . Use “Request for Petition and Control #”as the subject line of the e-mail.

If you are still unable to obtain the filing numbers, follow the procedure to Create a New Petition (see below).

My number doesn’t work

When entering your Petition Number on the claims web site, add a leading zero if it is only 7-digits long.

Filing the Petition With Your Filing Numbers

To start the filing process, use the link at the upper left of the FullTiltPokerClaims.com web site: “File a Petition for Remission”. Or, go directly here: https://secure.gcginc.com/PKR/Login.aspx .

  • When entering your Petition Number, add a leading zero if it is only 7-digits long.
  • You may get an “Object reference not set to an instance of an object” error message at the top of the next page (Petitioner Information). Just ignore the error and continue with the entries on the page.
  • After submitting the Petitioner Information page, the next page will show your Full Tilt Account Balance as per the records held by GCG. You can either accept the amount and submit your petition, or dispute the amount.
  • The final step for submitting your petition includes providing your current banking information for ACH transfer of your remission payment, including your bank name, bank address, bank routing number and your account number. If you are using a foreign bank account with a Swift number instead, enter the Swift number and follow up your petition with an email to GCG to let them know that is what you have done.
  • You can use the bank address where you opened your account, or the main address as it appears on your checks or the bank web site.

Filing the Petition Without Your Filing Numbers (Create a New Petition)

If you are unable to obtain your Petition and Control number e-mail from GCG, you will need to submit a New Petition through the claims web site. Click the Create a New Petition button at the bottom of the File a Petition page.

After entering your personal information, the next page will show a zero Full Tilt Account Balance. Enter the amount you wish to claim for remission.

Provide as much documentation as you can to support your claim. Provide the documents as listed below for disputes, as well as identity documents (such as license, passport, social security card) and address verification (such as utility bills, for both old and new addresses if it has changed). The main proof of your claim amount will be your FTP account spreadsheet.

Disputing Your Full Tilt Account Balance

Filing a remission petition is a legal process. You should consider contacting a legal professional, especially if you are unclear on any point of the process or uncomfortable with handling the process yourself.

Your Full Tilt Account Balance as shown is based on the records of your April 15, 2011 balance (and transactions following until FTP closed). It may also include certain cash value awards such as tournament dollars and live tournament awards, as well as later adjustments to your account for continued play, rakeback or returned withdrawals.

In many instances, this balance amount will differ from what you expect due to cash-value items like:

  • Withdrawals that weren’t received
  • Bounced or uncashed withdrawal checks
  • Missing rakeback

… or other missing items. GCG announced that rewards such as Iron Man Medals, Full Tilt Points and similar bonuses were marketing tools without monetary value and will not be refunded as part of remissions. If you are owed some item as an FTP player and are unsure which category it falls in, you can include it in your claim dispute. If the item is denied, it won’t affect the acceptance of the rest of your claim.

To dispute your account balance, you will need to upload supporting documents. There are only three buttons on the claims web site for uploading documents, but more will appear in groups of three as you use them. You can upload up to 100 documents.

Start with a spreadsheet of your FTP account for April 15, 2011 and other relevant dates, which you can obtain from the new FTP as follows:

  1. Download the current FTP software client from FullTiltPoker.com;
  2. Login using your older login credentials;
  3. Update your registered e-mail address, if necessary;
  4. From the main lobby click on the “Requests” drop down;
  5. Click “Account History (web)”;
  6. Submit a request date of 04/15/2011 (through any relevant date for additional transactions);
  7. Wait for an e-mail confirmation and click the link to download the spreadsheet file.

Provide as many additional documents as possible to support your dispute, including (as relevant and available) things like:

  • A written explanation of your dispute.
  • Banking records (including a few months of bank statements which show no receipt of a deposit for a missing ACH withdrawal).
  • Screen shots of your old FTP account.
  • E-mail correspondence with the old FTP.
  • Cancelled, bounced or uncashed checks.

GCG will notify you if they find that the evidence you provide is deficient to approve the disputed amount, giving you the opportunity to give them what they need to approve it. Submitting a dispute will not put at risk your remission for the original Full Tilt Account Balance per GCG. It may or may not increase the processing time for your petition.

What about FTP points and Iron Man medals?

The GCG recently announced that “Full Tilt Points […] will not be refunded […] Iron Man Medals and similar bonuses will also not be redeemed for their cash value and are not reflected in account balances.”

The statement did not specifically mention any other FTP non-cash account assets.

Who is Ineligible to File a Petition?

Technically, anyone can file a petition. But several classes of accounts have been disqualified from receiving any remissions payments.

Owners of FTP and related companies, family members and Full Tilt Pros are not eligible for any remission. There is also a special class of customers who potentially qualify a partial balance refund – affiliates.

In attempting to obtain your Petition and Control numbers from GCG, you may find that they have you tagged as an FTP “affiliate.” Affiliates may claim remission for their FTP account balance less any amount earned as an affiliate.

What does GCG mean by “affiliate”?

Originally, it was unclear what GCG meant by “affiliate,” but recent updates have offered at least some clarification on the matter, defining affiliates as those who “signed up with FTP as an affiliate.”

How do I file if my status is “affiliate”?

If you find that you are tagged as an affiliate, you will receive another email from GCG with new filing numbers and instructions. There will be a 30-day window to file a claim as an affiliate. When you use the new filing numbers, the account balance presented to you on the GCG claims web site will reflect your ending FTP balance, less your earnings as an affiliate. You will be able to dispute the amount, providing documentation of your actual earnings (if different) and any other items you wish to claim (as above for claims disputes).

However, if you don’t receive the new email from GCG before the current filing deadline of November 16th, it is highly recommended that you go ahead and file a New Petition for any amount you are legitimately owed as an FTP player. This will ensure that you have a claim for remission on file and you remain in the remissions queue, in case it turns out that somehow you weren’t actually tagged as an affiliate. Once you get the new email from GCG, file your petition again using the filing numbers provided in the email. This second petition will supersede the first one.

Can I file for AP / UB losses as part of the FTP remissions process?

The possibility of this route was recently raised by Rich Muny of the PPA.

It seems to be a serious longshot that Ultimate Bet / Absolute Poker players would be able to recover any funds via the Full Tilt remissions process. It is also unclear what, if any, impact attempting to claim AP / UB funds would have on a petition also seeking to claim Full Tilt Poker funds.

What is next after you file your petition?

When you complete your petition filing online, you should get an automated confirmation email from GCG right away. If you don’t get one, you should call GCG at (866) 250-2640 to confirm that your petition submission completed properly.

After that, it is just a matter of waiting for remission claims to be processed. If GCG finds deficiencies in your documentation, they will contact you for what is needed. If your claim is denied, you will have a chance to file an appeal.

Income Taxes on Remissions

The following is general information regarding tax law and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Players should seek professional assistance with any tax-related queries.

Poker winnings are taxable as gambling income and losses are deductible as an itemized deduction (or as a business deduction for professional players) up to the amount of winnings.

The portion of your remission payment that represents winnings is taxable. If you haven’t already reported those winnings as gambling income in prior years, they should be reported on your next income tax return after receiving your remission payment. The portion of the remission payment that represents money that you deposited on FTP would not be gambling income and does not have to be reported on your income tax return.

The claims web site has the following displayed on their FAQ page (http://www.fulltiltpokerclaims.com/faq.php ):

“Prior to the payment of funds to a Petitioner, GCG will provide the Petitioner’s Social Security or other Taxpayer Identification Number to the Government, in order to offset and collect any qualifying debts currently listed in the Treasury Offset Program.”

This means that if you owe money to a federal government agency, such as for an unpaid student loan or back taxes due, they will tap your remissions payment for the money due. It does not mean that GCG or the government will withhold a portion of your claim for income taxes on the remission payment. If some or all of your remission payment is taken to pay what you owe to the government, you will still be liable for income taxes on the portion of the remission payment that represents poker winnings.

What if I was a staked player or I sold my FTP balance?

Only the owner of the FTP account is entitled to file for remission (or their estate, if deceased). This does not affect tax liabilities.

Here is a good article on how to properly allocate the tax liability for staking arrangements in poker. The same will generally apply to remission payments, where the poker income has not already been reported to the IRS and the taxes paid (although new allocations to a staker may require filing new taxes or amending old ones). For other situations, you may need to seek professional advice.

If you sold your FTP balance, the purchaser incurs taxable income from their profit from the transaction. And you are still liable for taxes (if not paid previously) on your poker income, to the extent realized from the remission payment. Whether or not you can deduct your loss from selling your balance depends on whether or not your file as a professional player and other factors. You will probably need professional advice for your specific situation.

Additional Help & Resources

Your main source of help and answers to questions about the remissions is the GCG. They are very responsive to e-mails and phone calls.

When phoning, the representative is usually limited in detailed knowledge, but you can usually get a call back from a project manager who will be better informed. Their contact info:

  • Toll-free at: (866) 250-2640
  • [email protected]
  • Full Tilt Poker Claims Administration, c/o GCG, P.O. Box 9965, Dublin, Ohio 43017-5965.

The Poker Players Alliance is also providing help to players for remissions. Visit their Players Repayment Resource Center at http://theppa.org/repayment/ .

- PokerXanadu is a legislative and regulatory advocate for the rights of poker players, and a poker player himself. Learn more about his efforts at PokerLoversUnion.org
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