Back at the end of July came news that the US Department of Justice had settled with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker on civil claims, and that players would be paid back. I wrote,

When will players be repaid? If you are outside of the US (and this is determined by your residence on June 29, 2011), you likely will be repaid no later than November. If you are in the US, this remains unclear, but I’d expect you to be repaid before Christmas.

I was wrong.

I was expecting the DOJ to treat this differently from a ‘standard’ remission case, given that all the money was on hand and there was a complete list of who needed to be repaid. I was wrong: The bureaucratic procedure will be followed.

Yesterday, John Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance met with officials from the DOJ. A full statement from Mr. Pappas regarding the meeting is available. The gist of it is that is:

Our third objective was to get a sense of timing. Unfortunately, completion of a refund claims process is a long way away.

I now expect this to take many more months, perhaps more than one year for players to be repaid. Unfortunately, a realistic time-frame is 12 to 18 months from now. It could take less time if all the stars align, but it could take longer if something goes wrong. Poker players will be dealing with “bureaucracy at work.”

While what’s below isn’t the process, from a poker player’s perspective it might as well be. It’s definitely an example of how bureaucracy functions most of the time.

“The 2011 Purdue University Rube Goldberg machine shattered the world record for most steps ever successfully completed by such a machine. In 244 steps the ‘Time Machine’ traces the history of the world from Big Bang to the Apocalypse before accomplishing the assigned everyday task of watering a flower. The record has been sanctioned by the Guinness Book of World Records and the World Records Academy.”