THE crisis enveloping gaming company Pocket Kings, which employs some 700 people in Dublin, deepened yesterday after French authorities suspended its licence and punters in the US filed a class action against its flagship brand Full Tilt Poker, claiming they are owed money.
The future of Pocket Kings appeared to have been assured last week after a sale of the company to European investors was announced.
The company's troubles worsened yesterday, however, after the French gambling regulator suspended Full Tilt's licence there and closed the fulltiltpoker.fr website, which has been unavailable since last week.
Autorite de Regulation des Jeux En Ligne (ARJEL) said the moves were justified due to the downtime of the website and players' inability to access their accounts, while Full Tilt had also yet to complete a new licence application that authorities had required as a guarantee that French customers' accounts were safe.
The French regulator's move follows the suspension of the company's licence in the US by the Alderney Gambling Commission last week.
Meanwhile, a number of disgruntled gamblers have launched a class action against Full Tilt Poker in New York, claiming the company "refuses to refund the US players' deposits, to reimburse US players for the dollar-value of the contents of their player accounts, or to permit US players access to their player accounts".
The suit claims that an estimated $150m (€103m) is still tied up in accounts that are inaccessible to US players.
Sector watchers said the suspension made it even more likely gamblers would defect to rival websites. A spokesman for Pocket Kings could not be reached last night.