Some of the goodwill fostered with news that Full Tilt Poker will re-launch next month with non-US players set to have their funds returned has been lost with the announcement that payments owed to Full Tilt Poker affiliates will not be paid.
Additionally, player accounts will not tracked to old affiliates when the website returns next month, and players who were also affiliates will not be reimbursed for any money in their Full Tilt account that came from affiliate payments.
PMA was forwarded a copy of the email sent to affiliates, which reads:
As you may be aware, The Rational Group, which operates PokerStars, obtained certain assets of Full Tilt Poker as part of a settlement reached with the US Department of Justice Southern District of New York.
Under the settlement agreement with the Department of Justice, The Rational Group committed to make available for withdrawal the online poker account balances of all non-U.S. players of Full Tilt Poker.
FullTiltPoker.com will launch on November 6, and from this date forward non-U.S. players will be able to withdraw their balances, which relate to previous player activity on the site.
These funds will be made available for withdrawal out of the Rational Group’s own resources through funds which will be transferred by the Rational Group into segregated bank accounts.
Other than the non-US player balances, The Rational Group did not assume any liabilities of the previous Full Tilt Poker companies and therefore previous contractual agreements that Full Tilt Poker may have had with affiliates were excluded.
As such, The Rational Group is not liable and will not pay for any affiliate earnings which may have been due to you under your agreement with any former Full Tilt Poker company.
For those accounts where player funds are commingled with funds derived from affiliate earnings, The Rational Group will only be making the portion of the funds relating to your previous player activity available for withdrawal.
Separately, as we are working around the clock to get the new FullTiltPoker.com site up-and-running by November 6, we are unable to offer an affiliate program for Full Tilt Poker at this time.
We do intend to launch a new affiliate program in the first quarter of 2013, under the Rational Group, which will be a joint program with PokerStars. This future program will give you the opportunity to promote and earn from both brands.
We look forward to engaging with you on a new partnership going forward.
Full Tilt Poker
The once-lucrative affiliate market was decimated after Black Friday. When Full Tilt Poker closed, it not only owed hundreds of millions of dollars to US and non-US players, it also had significant outstanding payments to affiliates.
According to a story on PokerFuse.com, the site PokerStrategy.com was the biggest poker affiliate worldwide and a significant FTP promoter. Owners for the site filed a lawsuit in August 2012 for USD $1.2m against FTP company Pocket Kings, alleging unpaid payments. It claims it was sending up to 30,000 new players a month to the poker room.
Although not clear in the email above, it seems clear that affiliates will also lose their relationship with referred players who choose to continue to play from November.
The email to affiliates also states that for accounts “where player funds are commingled with funds derived from affiliate earnings,” only the portion from winnings will reimbursed.
This decision was expected due to the manner in which PokerStars acquired the assets of FTP. The announcement of a change in VIP system that sees the end of an affiliate-based rakeback with a replacement for in-house system confirmed the plans to rehaul the system and keep it consistent with how PokerStars operates.
Players who had funds in their accounts and also earned additional money through friend referrals may not have been expecting that they would not receive a full reimbursement on their balances, however.