KGC Identifies 31 Accomplices in Ultimate Bet Saga

14th September 2009 8:43 am GMT

Having conducted a lengthy and complex investigation into the three-year cheating scandal at Ultimate Bet poker, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission has identified a further 31 individuals connected to 'superuser' Russell Hamilton and the cheating accounts, with law enforcement authorities now determining whether criminal charges should be laid against them.

In a statement late last week, the Commission confirmed that between June 2003 and December 2007, cheating occurred on the Ultimate Bet poker site "whereby players' rights to a fair and honest game were violated". The cheating was initiated by one or more individuals associated with UB, prior to its acquisition by Tokwiro, the Commission stated.

The Commission found that the cheating resulted from "certain individuals manipulating the software then being used by UB's prior ownership and said manipulation was possible due to deficiencies in the control systems that were created, implemented and/or used by UB's prior ownership".

Based on information obtained during the course of its investigations, the Commission found that the ability to view hole cards was enabled by illicit software that was placed on the UB servers prior to November 2005 without management's knowledge. To perpetrate the cheating, one of more individuals logged into the UB client software using an account, AuditMonster2, which accessed the illicit software.

The responsible individual(s) then gathered hole card information using this account, and employed a variety of other accounts to use the hole card information to cheat other players in real money games. The usernames of the player accounts were changed repeatedly over the course of the cheating scheme in an apparent attempt to avoid detection.

In total, the Commission's investigation revealed 23 accounts that had a total of 117 usernames that were used by the responsible individual(s) to facilitate the cheating.

Former World Series of Poker champion and Ultimate Bet associate Russell Hamilton has already been identified as the 'superuser' behind the scam, however the Commission has identified a further 31 individuals who transferred money, changed usernames or withdrew money from accounts that had ties to the eWorld Holdings Group, former owner of Ultimate Bet, and/or Russell Hamilton.

As a regulatory body whose mandate does not include accessing criminal culpability, the Commission has instead provided extensive information to law enforcement authorities, who will determine whether criminal charges should be laid against any of the 31 individuals associated with Russell Hamilton and the cheating accounts.

"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," said KGC Chairman Dean Montour.

"We remain optimistic that this experience and the lessons learned from its will result in a higher standard of gaming regulation for companies licensed and regulated within the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake and elsewhere."

In an interim decision released by the Commission last year, Tokwiro was required to show within a stated period of time why its Client Provider Authorisation (CPA), the name of the permit issued to online gaming operators, should not be revoked.

The Commission has now confirmed that Tokwiro has met the conditions imposed on it, based on information provided by the company and the reports of its own investigators and agents, and has directed that the CPA be continued rather than be revoked.

Tokwiro has refunded US$22.05 million to players adversely affected by the cheating incidences, with the company paying a fine of $1.5 million plus the costs of the Commission's investigation.

The full report released by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission can be downloaded here.

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