In Canada, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission has announced the results of its investigation into a cheating scandal that rocked online poker room AbsolutePoker.com and subsequently its sister site UltimateBet.com.
Following numerous complaints from members of the popular online poker room, the regulator launched its examination in August under the stewardship of Frank Catania Sr, President for Catania Gaming Consultants and the former Director for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. The audit has now finished and revealed that dozens of different screen names were used in connection with the cheating scandal, which could have begun as early as May of 2004.
The Commission’s results specifically named Russell Hamilton, a former World Series of Poker (WSOP) winner that had been associated with UltimateBet's affiliate programme, and cited ‘clear and convincing evidence’ that he could have been involved in siphoning millions of dollars away from players accounts. The regulator further revealed that it had been in contact with the ‘appropriate law enforcement agencies’ regarding prosecuting those involved.
The Commission has also fined the online operator $1.5 million for its failure to implement and enforce measures to prohibit and detect fraudulent activities and ruled that it should start refunding all accounts adversely affected by the cheating before November 3, 2008, under its supervision. The regulator revealed that UltimateBet has, to date, reimbursed around $6.1 million to accounts impacted by the scandal.
UltimateBet has also been directed to remove all persons deemed ‘unsuitable’ by the Commission from any involvement with the company including all levels of operation, ownership and management. Not doing so would see the online operator risk loosing it gaming permit.
Until November 3, UltimateBet must also provide complete details of all day-to-day operations including financial as well as daily gaming records in order to guarantee full disclosure and prevent further improprieties while monies are being refunded.