CALGARY – Potentially thousands of Canadian online poker players have been cheated by troubled gaming site Full Tilt Poker out of their holdings, alleges a class-action lawsuit launched Friday.
The lawsuit comes just one day after the site’s license was revoked by regulators accusing the company of breaching regulations, included false reporting, unauthorized provision of credit and failing to report material events.
It is the latest development for the embattled company, which has been accused by U.S. federal prosecutors of running a Ponzi scheme and paying its directors more than $440 million while defrauding players, even after charges were filed against it in April.
A statement of claim filed by the Merchant Law Group alleges Canadians who had real money accounts with the online poker company as of April 15 — when it, along with two others, were charged with fraud — have been denied access to their own deposits.
Between an estimated $150 million and $390 million is owed to Full Tilt players, the lawsuit claims.
Player accounts have been frozen since June 30, a day after the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) suspended Full Tilt Poker’s gaming license and shut down the site’s card rooms, the claim states.
Lawyer Tony Merchant of Merchant Law Group said Friday at least 150 Canadians, many from Western Canada, have already called in to complain about the company.
“They haven’t been paid, none of these people have done anything wrong. They are entitled to get their money back,” he said. “It is particularly unfortunate to these people. They are not like someone betting on a football game or betting a thousand dollars.”
In another development, a deal with French business tycoon Bernard Tapie may be in the works to buy the company and its assets.
“The company goes on, but people who have been dealing with it are being thrown under the bus,” Merchant said.
Statements of claim contain allegations not proven in court.
— with files from Reuters
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