Full Tilt didn't violate license by commingling funds

21 September 2011
MILAN, Italy -- Full Tilt Poker may have commingled player funds and operations money in bank accounts, but that didn't violate its license with the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC).
Alderney licensees are required to disclose to players whether they mix player deposits and operations money in bank accounts or keep them in separate accounts, an AGCC official familiar with the situation told Casino City today. But they are not required to keep the two separate.
Full Tilt elected to disclose they were commingling funds.
The issue of commingling player funds with operating expenses was a big topic of conversation at the European iGaming Congress & Expo in Milan, Italy on Wednesday as the online gambling industry grappled with how one of its stars, Full Tilt Poker, had fallen so quickly.
PKR CEO Malcolm Graham called on regulators to force operators into keeping money deposited by players separate from money used in operations.
"We hope regulation will lead to ring fencing accounts," Graham said.
In two separate panel discussions featuring online gambling regulators from throughout Europe, Casino City asked whether player deposits should be segregated from operations accounts.
Only one regulator responded with an adamant yes.
"To protect customers, (it's) stipulated operators can't spend on the players' funds. We regularly check the bank accounts with technology to make sure the two balances match," said Franceso Rodano, head of remote gaming for AAMS, the Italian regulatory agency for online gambling. "We also have bank guarantees in place," Rodano added.
"This is something that needs to be looked at," said Jersey Gambling Commission Chairman Graham White in a different panel discussion. "All regulators recognize this. There might be a technological solution...there is a quite simple program that can track the deposits."
AGCC CEO Andre Wilsenach was part of the same panel discussion as White and declined to address the issue. But his sense of frustration over Full Tilt came through clearly in a recent statement regarding the hearings being held this week about the company's Alderney license.
"I am disappointed with the tribunal’s decision that, notwithstanding my arguments to the contrary, the hearing will be held in private. I believe the public has a right to know the reasoning behind the decisions to suspend FTP’s licences and call a hearing, and to hear the evidence that will be put forward on my behalf."

Vin Narayanan

Articles by Vin Narayanan is the former managing editor at Casino City and has been involved in the gaming industry for over a decade Vin is currently based in Hong Kong, where he runs his own consultant group and works as head of gaming and public relations for Mega Digital Entertainment Group.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.