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Online Casino News - June, 2008

Kahnawake Licensed Online Poker Room Cheating Again



  Seed Newsvine

by Devon Chappell, News Staff Writer

June 3, 2008

Perhaps we all owe the Canadian government an apology? While I certainly haven't been impartial to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, I will be the first to admit that I recently offered some sharp criticism against the Canadian government and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson's proposal to shut down Kahnawake's long-standing online casino licensing jurisdiction and gaming services regulator.

Hardly being anything but a black and white issue, on the one hand you have the Canadian government crying bloody murder for reasons that seem more about protecting land-based gambling and lottery revenues than they do about protecting youths and problem gamblers, while on the other hand, you have the Kahnwake Gaming Commission doing a horrible job regulating internet poker rooms under their jurisdiction.

You might recall the not-too-distant cheating scandal that went down at Absolute Poker. Well, guess what? It's happened again. And this time around it went down at one of the most popular poker rooms on the internet - Ultimate Bet. Stemming from suspicions and complaints in January of 2008, Ultimate Bet finally came out with a list of six player accounts and eighteen different aliases that were engaging in fraudulent activity.

And just like the Absolute case, the fraudulent activity was coming from none other than former employees of Ultimate Bet. And guess what else? Ultimate Bet is owned by the same company that owns Absolute Poker. And guess what else?! That company is Tokwiro Enterprises, which is owned by the former Kahnawake Grand Chief, Joe Norton. How could it possibly get any worse than that?

Well folks, if you consider the way in which Kahnawake is handling the situation, it does get worse. Albeit, Kahnawake made sure that any and all players who lost money as a direct result of the fraudulent activity were reimbursed and also imposed a $500,000 fine on Absolute Poker (chump change to a poker room of their size), they have not addressed how they are going to keep this from happening once again in the future. Nor have they demanded the people responsible for the fraudulent activity come forward. The only thing known is that six former employees were able to tap into a master user account to see other players cards and netted cheated funds running into the millions.

Well known poker strategy author, Steven Ware, stated on TwoPlusTwo.com that an analysis of one of the cheating players winning hands were akin to winning the Powerball lottery three days in a row. Ware also went on to express his disappointment with the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which is quickly becoming the sentiment for many poker players, saying it is "unfathomable" that online gambling companies dealing with as much money as they do, could be in operation with such a low level of transparency.

Ultimate Bet's argument is that the perpetrators of the fraud had left the company well before any cheating took place. Well then, where are the regulations requiring strict monitoring of all former employees and player accounts? Have some of these poker rooms simply gotten too big for their shoes? And another important question is how does this affect play at online casinos, which Kahnawake also licenses?

Well, fortunately, online casino gambling is just you and the software RNG - not you and another player. All online casinos licensed by Kahnawake (many of which are certified by eCOGRA) are audited on a monthly basis to ensure minimum payout percentages are met. Nonetheless, Kahnawake will need to clean up their tarnished reputation in the poker world, if they want to continue being one of the leading online gambling regulators in operation today.



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