Saturday, September 12, 2009
Absolute Poker and UltimateBet Online Poker Cheat Decisions Issued by Kahnawake Gaming Commission...$22 Million in Cheated Player Refunds!
Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG, the parent company of UltimateBet, yesterday received a decision from the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, UB’s regulatory authority, regarding the UB cheating scandal in 2008. The report, which followed an intensive and exhaustive investigation, ruled that Tokwiro has met the conditions imposed on it and has shown adequate cause as to why its Client Provider Authorization (“CPA”) should not be revoked. The report also included a full public disclosure of all 23 accounts and 117 usernames that were used by the cheater. The method for determining the list of names was approved by the KGC and their forensic auditors.
The KGC concluded that Tokwiro was not aware of the deficiencies in the control system until after the cheating activity had been initiated; Tokwiro fully cooperated with the KGC throughout the investigation to identify the individual(s) responsible for the cheating incidences; No individual identified as “unsuitable” is currently involved in any aspect of Tokwiro’s ownership, management and operations; Tokwiro has ensured that all players victimized by the cheating activity were promptly and fully reimbursed; and Tokwiro has paid the USD$1.5 Million fine imposed by the KGC, plus the costs of the investigation.
Paul Leggett, Chief Operating Officer for Tokwiro said, “The welfare of our players is our top priority and we are very pleased they now have access to the details of the fraud and all the facts and findings released by the KGC included in their report. A lot of our players have been patiently awaiting the release of the full list of usernames involved in the cheating incidences, and we can now answer any of their outstanding inquiries related to their refunds.”
With the completion of the investigation, the KGC has now released their final list of account numbers (User ID) and usernames (the “cheating accounts”), and they are provided on Kahnawake's website.
It is important to note that the legacy UB software, which is no longer in use, historically allowed a username to be reused, provided that the username was no longer associated with an account. Because of this, it is possible that some of the usernames which were released yesterday by the KGC may have been used by legitimate accounts, once those usernames were no longer used and controlled by the perpetrator. It is also a fact that a very small number of the usernames associated with the cheating accounts never actually played a hand.
As previously determined by independent investigations and stated in yesterday’s KGC report, the malicious software code that enabled the cheating was placed on UB servers prior to Tokwiro’s acquisition of the business from Excapsa Software in 2006. Tokwiro’s consistent position that the ability to cheat predated its ownership was vindicated by the recent legal settlement with Excapsa, under the terms of which Excapsa paid Tokwiro USD$15 million in partial compensation for the damage that was done by the cheating. This payment went toward the USD$22,054,351.91 in complete refunds that Tokwiro issued to the players that were adversely affected by the UB cheating incidences.
“It is extremely important to us that our players and the rest of the poker community understand that the individuals who perpetrated the cheating have never had any involvement with our company and we hope that the KGC report helps to inform the poker community of this fact,” Leggett added. “Over the past year we have literally rebuilt our company, creating a new management team and core staff that are poker players themselves and passionate about the game, and we are very excited to demonstrate what we can do in the coming months.”
In response to the cheating scandal, Tokwiro has implemented a range of key security measures that include a complete corporate reorganization, the dissemination of new mandatory ethics policies as well as strict policies regarding account name changes and VIP player vetting, the creation of an expanded Security Department to incorporate a specialized group of poker security analysts, and the development of a state-of-the-art Security Center that uses statistical analysis and real-time monitoring to catch cheating, including collusion, chip-dumping, bots, and other illicit activities.
Macau is a MAJOR casino cheat area and of course the favorite of casino cheat teams who are also members of the Chinese Mafia Triads. Usually it's baccarat cheat scams or junket player chip scams that proliferate in Macau, but this time it's a sophisticated high-tech counterfeit chip scam. True, it was busted, but the big question is: How many casinos got bilked and for how much money?
Macau police arrested six mainlanders at Wynn Macau and seized 38 highly sophisticated counterfeit gaming chips, each with a face value of HK$10,000. The five men and a woman, aged from 22 to 63, had successfully passed off 16 of the chips - implanted with microchips - which fooled dealers and infrared detectors on the gambling tables and made it all the way to the casino cage.
But they pushed their luck in trying to pass off the remaining 22 chips, by which time the chips were detected by a more delicate detector in the cage. Casino staff using CCTV cameras found the suspects were still gambling. They were taken to the security room and arrested two hours later. Genuine Hong Kong banknotes and real chips totaling HK$210,000, which police believe they got from cashing the chips that included the 16 fake ones, were found on them.
The mainlanders arrived in Macau at about 4pm on Tuesday and immediately went to Wynn. They gambled on tables with the fake chips and collected real chips and cash in payoffs before an expert using a more delicate detector in the casino cage found the 16 fake chips, which contained lower-value microchips, at 6pm.
Police found 22 fake chips on the suspects, who came from Guangdong and Hubei. They will be charged with deception in gambling and participating in a syndicate. Chau Wai-kuong, head of the Judiciary Police Criminal Investigation Department, said the fake chips were probably produced in the mainland by a syndicate that has been active for no more than a month.
The syndicate hired so-called "drivers" to go to Macau casinos to cash in the fake chips. Police are now trying to determine if the syndicate deceived other casinos and whether other "drivers" are still being hired. The mastermind is still at large.
A Wynn Macau spokeswoman confirmed an attempt to cash in counterfeit gaming chips was detected on the spot, thanks to vigilant staff and the effectiveness of security technology. The casino refused to comment further as police investigations are continuing.
It's not the first time Wynn Macau has been targeted by counterfeit criminals. In March last year, a Zhejiang man commissioned an advertising company to replicate the stickers on the Wynn chips and put them on fake chips. He managed to exchange 44 chips for HK$220,000. He was arrested two months later when he entered Macau again. Police seized 149 semi-completed chips and 444 HK$1,000 stickers.
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Friday, September 11, 2009
It just keeps getting better and better, if not stupider and stupider. Four Planet Hollywood poker room supervisors have been arrested for cheating the Las Vegas casino´s poker room out of the paltry sum of $2000. What's that come to...$500 per guy? Hard to believe that guys with solid poker room jobs would put them on the line for such a trifling amount of money, but that's what happened. The Nevada State Gaming Control Board has charged Jonathan Sanner, Jason Peterson, Thomas R. Kordick, all of Las Vegas, and Scott Marshall of Henderson, Nevada, with crimes including forgery, embezzlement and conspiracy in connection with the poker cheat scam that swindled the Las Vegas Strip poker room’s high hand jackpot of slightly more than two grand.
The four cheating poker supervisors apparently filed false paperwork on the jackpot payouts so that they could collect the prize money for the jackpot high hands that never actually got dealt. A suspicious fellow employee blew the whistle on them. I wonder if that's because there wasn't enough profit in the cheat scam to either include him or buy his silence!
In any event, the insider poker and casino cheat scams continue to proliferate world wide.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
In the last two weeks I have received two-dozen e-mails asking me if I know anything about a current poker card-marking cheat scam using lasers in the Victoria Casino in London and several others in the UK. Although I have blogged about the real threat of laser card-marking on brick and mortar poker tables, I have not heard from any of my European contacts that it has taken place at the Victoria casino or anywhere else in the UK. I have, however, been informed that there is a highly-skilled poker cheat team from Eastern Europe (I believe Hungary) that is in the operational stage for marking cards with lasers and ready to cheat B&M poker rooms. When I get news about their actually implementing it, I will of course pass it on. I would think that the first major poker area to get hit with laser card-marking poker cheat scams would be California. Why there is a proliferation of talk about this concerning UK poker rooms, I don't know, but it might have something to do with the fact that Eastern European high-tech poker and casino cheat teams like to work the UK, i.e. the Ritz roulette scam and the London 3-card poker scam using tiny digital cameras.