Cookies on the PokerWorks Website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the PokerWorks website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time.

Continue using cookies

Poker News | World Poker News

KGC Issues Final Decision in UB Scandal, Police to Pursue Hamilton and 31 Others

Share this
News about the UltimateBet scandal had been relatively non-existent since the Fall of 2008. After the Kahnawake Gaming Commission released its initial findings in September of 2008 and pointed to Russ Hamilton as the primary alleged criminal in the cheating incidences, the industry spent a short time abuzz about the former World Series of Poker Main Event champion before going mostly silent on the issue. But on September 11, 2009, the KGC made public its final decision in the case, putting the KGC’s part in the matter to rest.

In the original decision released by the KGC, it was noted that there were 19 accounts and 88 usernames used to cheat players, and Russ Hamilton was the primary person connected to the cheating incidents. Sanctions against UltimateBet were announced, as well as the fact that UB had reimbursed $6.1 million to players and was still in the process of issuing more repayments. Clearly, those numbers were premature, and when the case was closed in the KGC books on September 11, 2009, most statistics had changed and more information was made public.

The document was entitled “In the Matter of Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG [owner of UltimateBet and Absolute Poker], Carrying on Business as UltimateBet Investigation Regarding Complaints of Cheating” and began by stating that the KGC completed its investigation but has no authority to determine criminal culpability or civil liability. After giving an overview of the scandal since it came to light in early 2008, it announced the following findings (summarized):

1.  Cheating occurred on UB between June 2003 and December 2007.
2.  The cheating was initiated by one or more individuals associated with UB prior to Tokwiro’s purchase of it.
3.  The alleged cheaters currently have no association with UB or Tokwiro.
4.  The cheating was done by manipulating the software.
5.  Tokwiro was not aware of the software glitches until after the cheating was discovered.
6.  Tokwiro cooperated with the KGC to identify perpetrators and reimburse victimized players.

UB met the following conditions during the course of the investigation:

1.  Tokwiro ridded itself of any “unsuitable” people in its ownership, management, and operations.
2.  Tokwiro modified its entire control system by February 2008 to remove faulty software and prevent further incidences.
3.  Tokwiro refunded $22,054,351.91 to players adversely affected by the cheating.
4.  Tokwiro paid a $1.5 million fine, plus investigation costs, to the KGC.

In order to keep its license, Ultimate Bet was issued additional conditions to follow:

1.  The KGC will be allowed to test Tokwiro’s control systems whenever it deems necessary.
2.  Any changes or upgrades to the system must meet or exceed industry best practices as determined by the KGC.
3.  Tokwiro must provide all details of daily operations for a one-year period.
4.  Tokwiro must maintain three sets of web and game logs, one of which will be on a server at the KGC facilities.
5.  Tokwiro must complete a compliance policy update and review within 90 days of the decision to ensure it is meeting industry best practices.
6.  Tokwiro must file an application within 30 days of the decision for licensing of any person associated with Tokwiro as an officer, director, key person, or shareholder.
7.  Tokwiro must file an application within 30 days of the decision for any person associated with Tokwiro or terminate that employment or relationship.
8.  KGC has the right to request an application from anyone with a beneficial interest in Tokwiro.
9.  All applicants must be available to the KGC for interviews.

The final decision included a complete list of all accounts and usernames associated with the cheating scandal, of which there were 23 accounts and 117 usernames. The names of perpetrators associated with each name were not released.

With respect to the perpetrators, it was concluded that Russ Hamilton, who previously had an association with eWorld Holdings Group, was “primarily responsible for and benefitted from the multiple cheating incidences. The vast majority of the computer devices and IP addresses used by the cheating accounts were directly associated with Russell Hamilton. The vast majority of the cheating accounts transferred money through Russell Hamilton’s player accounts.”

It was also reported that there were 31 individuals thought to have been associated with Hamilton. When Chuck Barnett, member of the Board of Supervisors of Mohawk Internet Technologies was asked about the release of those names, he responded that it was thoroughly discussed with a legal team and with law enforcement authorities before determining that the release of the names to the public would be detrimental to the case. Since some of the 31 names may have varying degrees of culpability - some may not have even known they were participating in the scandal at all - the civil liability of releasing that information might result in a legal backlash for the KGC.

The KGC has turned over all results of the investigation, including the names of Hamilton and his 31 alleged co-conspirators, to the proper authorities who have expressed an interest in pursuing criminal charges against them. Barnett would not divulge whether the authorities were in Canada or the United States, but he was confident that there would be a criminal pursuit undertaken.

With that, KGC Chairman Dean Montour noted, “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.”

News Flash

The IRS Scores Big at 2015 WSOP ME Final Table

The IRS managed to snag 34.13 percent from the payouts of the 2015 November Nine, totaling $8,467,091.

Read more

Quick Room Review

Bonus Room review

Subscribe to the Nightly Turbo

Be the first to know all the latest poker news, tournament results, gossip and learn all about the best online poker deals straight from your inbox.

RSS Feed