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