GPWA Times - Issue 21 - May 2012

By J Todd, Host, APCW Perspectives Weekly L ast summer, after the Alder- ney Gambling Control Com- mission revoked Full Tilt Poker’s license, poker players and affili- ates around the world were hoping and praying that someone would ride in on a white horse, pay ev- eryone what they were due, and resurrect what had been one of the strongest brands in the online gambling industry. Rumors started flying around about a group of French investors who were looking to do just that. Groupe Bernard Tapie, which has made a name for itself buying and rebuilding troubled companies, confirmed that it was in negotia- tions with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to purchase the company, reopen for business outside the United States, and pay back players. Every few weeks, someone would say that a deal was imminent, but nothing would come of it. Then another round of rumors would begin, getting everyone’s hopes up. Turns out Groupe Bernard Tapie was never really interested in pay- ing back what everyone was due. They backed out of a deal in late April because the DOJ demanded that everyone get paid in full within 90 days of their takeover of the site. “We were not prepared to do that,” Benham Dayanim, an attorney for Groupe Bernard Tapie, told the Associated Press. Now I realize that Groupe Ber- nard Tapie wasn’t responsible for the mismanagement at Full Tilt. The company wasn’t under their watch when it went under, owing more than $330 million to play- ers around the world. But if you’re going to jump on board to get the company going again, you should do it under the assumption that you’re going to make everyone whole again. If that wasn’t your intention, you never should have gotten into the game. But really, is this all that surpris- ing? Bernard Tapie has been ac- cused of match fixing, his soccer team Olympique de Marseille was stripped of its French league title, and he was investigated for com- plicity of corruption and suborna- tion of witnesses. He spent two years in prison and has been pros- ecuted for tax fraud. And while his son Laurent was the one who was managing the purchase of Full Tilt Poker, do we think the apple really fell that far from the tree? This was supposed to be the knight in shining armor, riding in on a white horse to pay us all what we’re due? There are plenty of rumors about PokerStars being the company that’s going to ride in on a white horse and do what’s right, paying everyone back in full. I hope that turns out to be the case for the sake of everyone who is owed money. (As of press time, there is no of- ficial word from PokerStars or the DOJ regarding the matter.) But for getting our hopes up, then dashing them because they weren’t pre- pared to do what was right, Groupe Bernard Tapie takes its rightful place on our Wall of Shame. W all of S hame APCW’s Wall of Shame