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Khanawake Gaming Commission Publishes Final Report – September 18th, 2009

Casino NewsIn a blast from the past, late Friday the Kahnawake Gaming Commission published its final report on the UltimateBet online poker scam which took place more than three years ago, confirming that cheating did occur on the Tokwiro Enterprises subsidiary online poker site, and that former World Series of Poker main event champion Russell Hamilton was primarily responsible, although some 31 other individuals were associated in varying degrees with one of online poker’s biggest cheating scandals.

It was an expensive affair for Tokwiro, which ended up disbursing $22 million to players prejudiced by the hole card scandal, and had to pay a further $1.5 million in fines to the KGC.

Added to that has been the cost of the investigation, and the undoubtedly significant amounts of budget that Tokwiro has had to allocate to rebuilding its reputation.

KGC Chairman Dean Montour drew a line under the debacle in stating: “Despite the unfortunate circumstances that resulted in this cheating, we are satisfied that the actions taken by the Commission provided an equitable result for affected players – our first priority.

“We remain optimistic that this experience and the lessons learned from it will result in a higher standard of gaming regulation for companies licensed and regulated within the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake and elsewhere,” Montour added.

The 11 page report confirms that certain parties had the ability to view hole cards, and this was enabled by illicit software placed on the UltimateBet servers prior to November 2005. A third party account was then used to view players’ hole cards and the information passed on to the other players in on the scam. The user names on the accounts maintained by those responsible were changed often in an apparent attempt to avoid detection.

The 1994 WSOP Main Event champ Russell Hamilton is again named by the Commission as the individual it believes primarily responsible for the cheating, adding that 31 other unprincipled individuals were associated in varying degrees with Hamilton when the alleged cheating took place.

Names were not released to the public in the report, which will not please many in the industry who have been calling for all involved to be publicly named and shamed. 23 accounts with 117 different usernames were used to facilitate the cheating and the money was disbursed using player-to-player transfers on the site, the report discloses, adding that since the incidents UltimateBet has taken significant steps to modify its control systems to prevent cheating and other improprieties in the future.

The Kahnawake authorities have provided full details of its detailed investigation – including the identities of all those involved – to Canadian law enforcement authorities, who will determine whether criminal charges should be laid against one or more of the individuals involved, the report concludes.

Prior to the UltimateBet scandal, similar cheating allegations had been investigated against UltimateBet’s sister site Absolute, resulting in that site having to pay a $500 000 fine to the KGC.

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