Published on July 24th, 2008 2:41 am EST

poker players alliance - kahnawake gaming commission - statementsIn recent days, the Poker Players Alliance and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission have both released statements on the recent scandals involving Absolute Poker and Ultimatebet.

The Poker Players Alliance statement, released on July 22nd, reads like this:

Washington, D.C. (July 22, 2008) - Former Senator Alfonse D'Amato, chairman of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with over one million members nationwide, today issued the following statement in response to recent online poker cheating scandals.

"The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is the political and public policy voice for poker players in America. Central to our mission are advocacy efforts in Washington D.C. and around the country to protect poker players from misguided and vague laws and to establish licensed and regulated Internet poker in the U.S. To be clear, the PPA is not a regulatory body for poker players or the poker industry, nor do we seek to be. We are, however, compelled to speak out when our public policy mission is potentially undermined by actions which present Internet poker in a negative light.

Trust is paramount in poker. Sadly, this foundation has been undercut by admissions from two well-known online poker companies, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet, that cheating has occurred on their poker sites. The Poker Players Alliance condemns any and all cheating in poker no matter the forum in which it is played. Because of the current legal uncertainties and the lack of federal regulation and oversight, it is especially troubling when cheating occurs in online poker. This has created an untenable atmosphere and has denied the proper means to investigate allegations, administer due process and then apply appropriate penalties for the wrongdoers. We urge these companies and their regulating authority, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, to provide a full and transparent accounting of these breaches of the public trust to help lift the black cloud that has been placed over the industry.

The recent cheating scandals underscore the need for U.S. licensing and regulation of online poker to help protect consumers. While even the most highly regulated industries are susceptible to fraud and abuse, regulation does provide assurances that when consumers are harmed they have recourse. Further, it is abundantly clear that regulation will also address other consumer concerns by successfully providing ways to bar access by children to gambling Web sites and providing the necessary services for problem gamblers.

The federal government cannot continue to abdicate this basic responsibility to millions of its citizens who choose to play poker on the Internet. The attempt to enforce an outright prohibition of online poker is deeply flawed and unworkable, not to mention it invades upon the personal freedoms of law-abiding adults who wish to engage in a game of skill.

Remaining consistent with our organization's mission, we will continue our efforts on Capitol Hill to ensure lawmakers are well educated about the benefits of regulation to protect consumers and enable the rights of poker playing adults. These scandals will not and should not be the demise of a responsible government approach to Internet poker. Instead, this can be the pathway to understanding that regulation is the key to protecting citizens and the future of America's card game."

The full Poker Players Alliance can be read here

Next up is the Kahnawake Gaming Commission's latest statement (courtesy of Pokernews.com):

Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake
July 23, 2008

Kahnawake Gaming Commission (the "KGC") has been continuously regulating online gaming for over 9 years - longer than most, if not all, other jurisdictions. During that period of time, the KGC has proven to be a world leader with regulations and methodologies that have established a regulatory environment in which online gaming can be conducted fairly and securely. The KGC's success as a regulator is evidenced by the fact that a significant percentage of the online gaming industry has chosen to locate and operate within Kahnawake. Given the length of time that it has regulated this new industry and the significant number of licensees under its control, the KGC's record has been exemplary.

As commentators have correctly noted, even the most well regulated industries are not immune from abuse. Examples can be found in the banking, securities and land-based gaming industries. The fact that the online gaming industry is new and is technologically driven creates additional regulatory challenges. Throughout its history, the KGC has met these challenges and its regulations have been emulated in a number of other jurisdictions around the world.

Over the past several months, it was discovered that individuals within two of the KGC's licensees - Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet - had created and carried out a scheme to cheat players. In both cases, the improper conduct of these individuals was brought to the attention of the licensees, and the KGC, by affected players. The KGC acknowledges the diligence and sophistication displayed by these players and the role they played in bringing these matters to light.

The first case involved Absolute Poker. After a thorough investigation carried out by the KGC and its agents, Gaming Associates, the KGC rendered its decision in this matter on January 11, 2008. This decision concluded that the cheating that took place was not initiated, nor did it benefit, Absolute Poker as a corporate entity, or its directors or principal ownership. The decision imposed a number of sanctions and conditions on Absolute Poker, including twenty-four specific directions for changes to its management and systems. The KGC was provided evidence that all players affected by the cheating that took place were fully reimbursed for their losses.

Shortly after its decision was rendered in the Absolute Poker matter, the KGC first became aware of similar allegations of cheating involving individuals within Absolute Poker's sister company: Ultimate Bet.

Over the past several months, the KGC has been closely involved in an in-depth investigation of the Ultimate Bet cheating allegations. Significant efforts have been expended to identify and correct the flaws in Ultimate Bet's system that permitted the cheating to take place; to identify the individuals that were responsible for the cheating and to ensure that all affected players were fully reimbursed. Unfortunately, the KGC's actions were not well communicated to the poker industry or public at large, creating an incorrect perception that the KGC was 'doing nothing'.

The KGC's investigation into the Ultimate Bet matter has yielded a number of key findings which, within the next several days, will enable the KGC to issue its decision on the appropriate steps to be taken.

It should be stressed that the KGC's primary concern throughout both matters was to ensure that affected players were fully reimbursed and that corrective measures were implemented to prevent against any further incidents of cheating. Both of these objectives have been accomplished as evidenced by the fact that the recent concerns that have been raised about the Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet matters are not being driven by affected players.


Murray Marshall
Senior Advisor
Kahnawake Gaming Commission

Full Statement can be Read Here

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Filed Under: Poker Scandals

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