PokerNews is live in London at the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) hearing for Full Tilt Poker. The hearing gets under way at the Victoria Park Plaza Hotel, 239 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 1EQ at 1000 BST (0200 PDT) on Tuesday, July 26, 2011.
On June 29, the AGCC suspended the license of Full Tilt Poker and ordered the site to suspend all operations. Games on Full Tilt Poker came to a sudden halt and have not resumed.
Since then, very little concrete evidence has come to light, but the rumor mill has been churning, most notably on the subject of whether Full Tilt can secure a new investor. They remain without a new investor, although a recent report in eGaming Review Magazine has suggested talks are still on-going.
During the hearing the AGCC will be presenting evidence to justify its decision to suspend Full Tilt Poker’s licenses. It is difficult to speculate just what will happen during the hearing, but poker players should soon have a clearer picture of the gravity of the situation, what the future of Full Tilt Poker may look like, and what the likelihood is that players will receive their funds.
This event is open to the press and public; however, all telephones and recording equipment are strictly prohibited. We will bring you all the news from the event as soon as we can.
Update 12:24 GMT
It is looking likely that the hearing will be adjourned, or at least will take place in private.
The function room was packed with journalists and members of the public. Rumors were going around prior to the start of the hearing that the Full Tilt representatives would move to delay the hearing.
Martin Heslop, a lawyer representing Full Tilt, started the proceedings by making a pre-pre-application to make a pre-application to adjourn in-camera. What this basically means is that they wanted to privately appeal to the AGCC representatives to adjourn the meeting until a later date.
The reasons they stated were that it was in the interests of justice and did no harm to the proceedings to hold the hearing privately. He also sited the commercial sensitivity involved with negotiations for a potential new investor as a factor, and the fact that there was significant press interest that could prejudice the case.
The only really new piece of information that came to light so far is that Full Tilt owe the AGCC around £250,000 in licensing fees. Mr Heslop brought this up in the interests of speeding up proceedings, by stating the only reason that this money had not been paid was for commercial reasons, as they expected their license to no longer exist. He also said that they would happily pay the fees within seven days, if there was still a chance that they could remain licensed by the AGCC.
The committee then went away to make their decision on whether to hear the Full Tilt representatives application to adjourn the meeting in private. At 11:45 they returned and agreed that it was in the interests of justice to hear the pre-application to delay the hearing in private, which will take place in around two hours.
Professional poker player Harry Demetriou, who was in attendance, stood up and stormed out, shouting "What about the interests of the players? Why you are protecting this corrupt company?" and was promptly escorted out. This was met with a few mutterings of 'here here' from members of the public and a small round of applause.
A decision will be made in a few hours as to whether to adjourn the meeting to a later date. What is looking increasingly likely is that the press and public will play no further part in proceedings today. I will be here if that changes, but it appears that poker players could be very disappointed if they were hoping for some resolution today.
Update 13:59 GMT
A decision on the pre-application is now not likely until at least 15:00 GMT.
Update 18:00 GMT
After an entire day of deliberation, the AGCC finally recommenced the hearing at 17:45 GMT. It was announced that in the interests of justice and the best interest of Full Tilt customers, the hearing will be adjourned. This is so Full Tilt can pursue advanced investment negotiations, which could result in a better outcome for the players.
The AGCC stated they did not enter into this decision lightly, and will reconvene no later than September 15, 2011.