Class-ac­tion suit claims Full Tilt Poker kept users’ money

Montreal Gazette - - Business - LYNN MOORE THE GAZETTE For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the class ac­tion, go to www.clg.org.

A Cana­dian class-ac­tion law­suit against the online gam­bling site Full Tilt Poker has been launched in Montreal.

The suit, which has to be au­tho­rized by a Que­bec judge be­fore pro­ceed­ing, could ben­e­fit Cana­dian gam­blers who saw their ac­counts with the site frozen fol­low­ing a U.S. crack­down on In­ter­net poker sites this sum­mer.

Cana­dian pa­trons had be­tween $5 mil­lion and $10 mil­lion with­held when Full Tilt shut down its online card rooms to all play­ers on June 29, lawyer Jeff Oren­stein said Fri­day. Oren­stein, of Consumer Law Group Inc., filed the class ac­tion with the Que­bec Su­pe­rior Court.

In April, Full Tilt held about $150 mil­lion of its play­ers’ money, the court doc­u­ments said. Oren­stein es­ti­mated that about 10 per cent of the com­pany’s play­ers were Cana­di­ans.

He said he has al­ready been con­tacted by one Edmonton man who claims Full Tilt was hold­ing $250,000 of his funds when it pulled the plug while a sec­ond gam­bler said he had $10,000 in his ac­count.

The av­er­age pa­tron prob­a­bly had much smaller ac­counts, Oren­stein said.

The lead plain­tiff in the class ac­tion is a Montreal man, Mitchell Sch­nur­bach, who had be­tween $1 and $5 in his player ac­count.

Key ex­ec­u­tives of Full Tilt and re­lated com­pa­nies are also named in the suit.

One of the third-party pay­ment pro­ces­sors for Full Tilt – Ter­ri­corp Inc.mor­tar – has bank ac­counts in Canada, the class ac­tion notes.

The U.S. only al­lows bricks and- casi­nos be­cause of a law passed by Congress in 2006 mak­ing it il­le­gal for busi­ness and banks to know­ingly ac­cept pay­ments re­lated to In­ter­net gam­bling.

On April 15, the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment charged Pok­er­Stars, Full Tilt Poker and Ab­so­lute Poker – the world’s three big­gest online gam­ing sites – and their founders with il­le­gal gam­bling and fraud.

As of that day, U.S. play­ers were un­able to ac­cess their ac­counts with those sites.

Cana­di­ans were still able to play, but on June 29, the gam­ing com­mis­sion of Alder­ney sus­pended Full Tilt’s li­cence and the site shut down its rooms to all play­ers.

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