Deadline Extended to September for Absolute Poker Refund Applications

Updated: June 21st, 2017 by Dev Ops

If you were a former customer of failed online poker sites Absolute Poker and (earlier known as UltimateBet), and you’ve only recently heard that refunds will be issued to former players, don’t despair: The claims administrator appointed by the US Department of Justic, Garden City Group (GCG), has announced a 90-day extension for filing an application for remission (the technical term for refund) from the two failed sites.

Absolute Poker’s company had acquired the old UltimateBet in the years following the US’s passge of its hated Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) back in 2006, and the “Black Friday” indictments in 2011 that forced most of the larger, remaining US-facing sites to leave the US market in April of 2011.

Absolute Poker and were among those Black Friday-targeted operations, and the sites’ owners quickly closed up shop, leaving tens of thousands of players left without refunds of their online balances for more than six years.

Garden City Group, which is running the whole remission process over at, is the same outfit that ran the Full Tilt Poker refund process. The FTP remission cycle began in late 2012 and still isn’t quite done, though it’s not likely to take that long with the AP/UB refunds. That’s perhaps why GCG and the DOJ initially allocated only a 90-day window for applying for these refunds.

Then reality set in, it seems. People move on with their lives, changing locations and e-mails and the like. Lots of pre-2011 US online pokers have gone on hiatus from internet poker, even though several other sites and networks still service US players. Given that the DOJ’s Black Friday crackdown was the major element of that, it’s hard not to how the agency wouldn’t understand the situation.

It all adds up to an extra 90 days for former AB/UB players to file. The new deadline date is September 7th, 2017.

It seems likely that a lot of former customers of the two failed sites have indeed been unaware of the refund process. That’s no surprise in one way: The scandalous background of Absolute Poker, including its notorious insider-cheating affairs and the attempts by the company’s owners to hide corporate assets under false-flag registrations and phony corporate sales, all left little for US marshals to seize once the whole thing imploded.

Former AP co-founder Scott Tom and his step-brother, Brent Beckley, were charged individually on Black Friday as well. Beckley paid a significant fine and Scott Tom is in the process of negotiating a similar fine as well, as part of his recent plea deal with US authorities, but those fines aren’t likely to be nearly enough to pay the tab still owed to former AP and UB players.

Instead, it’s leftover money from the 2012 PokerStars settlement with the DOJ that’s being used here. “It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” one well-placed source said, under condition of anonymity. The Stars settlement was specifically designed to refund former US-based customers of Stars’ rival, Full Tilt Poker, with Stars acquiring all of FTP’s international assets and player base as part of the deal.

But Absolute Poker? And / UltimateBet? That wasn’t part of the plan. However, the technical way in which the 2011 Black Friday indictments were filed, combining all the charges into a single, omnibus indictment, opened the legal door for these refunds to be linked. It’s a big, big break for former AP and UB players, and it’s unlikely the DOJ foresaw this eventuality back in 2010 and 2011 when the whole Black Friday case was being assembled.

Players who have contacted GCG about the extension have received responses such as this:

The extension to file was ordered by the Department of Justice however this will not delay the review process. We will be reviewing Petitions on a rolling basis.

At this time we do not have a distribution date available. You can check back in about 4 to 5 weeks to see if we have any updated information on when the payments will be going out.

The payments will be made electronically (ACH); once the petitions are approved we will contact you for your banking information.

Subsequently, GCG representatives have confirmed that even though refund applications will be processed on a rolling basis, those refunds won’t start being sent out until after the new Sepatember deadline has passed.

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