Kahnawake Gaming Commission Releases Initial UB Findings

Russ Hamilton Named as Main Person Responsible

by , Sep 29, 2008 | 5:54 pm

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) has released its initial findings in the UltimateBet scandal. There are some jaw-dropping facts in the statement, like the $6.1 million figure that the KGC states has been reimbursed to cheated UB players, which does not include more reimbursements that are to commence on November 3rd. And Russ Hamilton is officially named as the main person responsible for and said to have benefited from the UB scandal.

Interesting to note that the KGC chose to release this statement as the Aruba Poker Classic gets underway…

(Thanks to Kevin Mathers for the heads-up, and MajorWager.com for being the first website to have reprinted the statement in full.)

The entire statement is as follows:

Kahnawa:ke Gaming Commission Imposes Sanctions on Ultimate Bet with Regard to Cheating Incidents

For immediate release

(MOHAWK TERRITORY OF KAHNAWAKE – September 29, 2008) Kahnawa:ke Gaming Commission (“KGC”) Chairman Dean Montour today announced the initial findings of the audit conducted on licensee Ultimate Bet, as well as the sanctions to be imposed.

According to KGC Chairman Montour, the Commission has reviewed the information provided to it over the past months from Frank Catania of Catania Gaming Consultants of New Jersey; Gaming Associates, an Australian game testing company; and the permit holder. Chairman Montour said, “The Commissioners have made several findings of fact with regard to the cheating that occurred on the Ultimate Bet web site that included the identification of some of the individuals responsible for these incidents as well other significant violations of the Kahnawa:ke Interactive Gaming Regulations.”

The Commission found clear and convincing evidence to support the conclusion that between the approximate dates of May 2004 to January 2008, Russell Hamilton, an individual associated with Ultimate Bet’s affiliate program, was the main person responsible for and benefiting from the multiple cheating incidents. Furthermore, the KGC is currently in contact with the appropriate law enforcement agencies and intends to fully cooperate in the prosecution of all individuals involved in the UB cheating incidents.

Mr. Catania states, “My intention is to provide further information as it is uncovered, although the information already submitted to the KGC relating to Ultimate Bet warrants the KGC taking the actions it has today. Any further evidence uncovered with regard to cheating, withholding or destroying records in our continuing investigation will be reported to the KGC and the proper agency for appropriate action.”

As a result of the KGC’s findings of fact, the Commission called a special meeting, at which time it was unanimously decided to impose the following sanctions against Ultimate Bet:

1. Ultimate Bet is directed that by November 3, 2008 it shall, under the close supervision of the KGC, its employees and agents, commence refunding all players accounts found to have been adversely affected by the cheating of individuals under the control and supervision of the licensee. It is estimated that Ultimate Bet has to date reimbursed $6.1 million USD to players’ accounts found to have been adversely impacted by the cheating activity

2. Ultimate Bet is directed that by November 3, 2008 it is to remove any and all persons deemed as “unsuitable” by the KGC from all involvement with the company, which shall include all levels of ownership, management and operation. Ultimate Bet during that time period until November 3, 2008 is required to continue to provide complete details of all day-to-day operations of the company. These shall include financial as well as daily gaming records to Frank Catania and or his assigns. It is anticipated that this action will provide full disclosure and prevent any further improprieties or wrongdoing from occurring while ensuring that the public is being offered fair and honest games and all player monies will be protected.

3. Ultimate Bet’s control system as defined in section 9 of the Kahnawa:ke Interactive Gaming Regulations has been modified to prevent any further incidents of cheating or related improprieties.

4. Ultimate Bet will not delete or modify any logs including but not limited to web logs and game logs as required by the Kahnawa:ke Interactive Gaming Regulations and will continue to have those logs immediately available for inspection by the KGC or its agents.

5. Ultimate Bet shall immediately pay a fine of $1.5 Million USD to the KGC for its failure to implement and enforce measures to prohibit and detect fraudulent activities.

6. Ultimate Bet’s failure to comply fully with these measures will result in the immediate revocation of its KGC gaming permit.


  • Kevin Mathers

    I’ll deflect the credit for the people over on 2+2 who posted the articles. I’m sure Pokernews also got the press release around the same time majorwager.com had it, that’s was the site that I saw first that had it.

    Anyways, you think the KGC is trying to throw Russ under the bus here? The focus has definitely turned to him and away from Scott Tom and AJ Green. I’ve got a feeling that the 60 Minutes article as mentioned by Pokernews Daily at http://tinyurl.com/sixtyminutes will focus more on Russ than others.

  • I believe the KGC, Tokwiro, and UB have wanted to throw Hamilton under the bus for awhile now but have been waiting for their legal teams to give them the thumbs-up. I believe that Tom and Green were involved in the AP scandal only, and Hamilton seems to be the primary culprit in the UB case.

  • Some guy near McKinney

    If I remeber correctly, it was Nat Arem (N82 50 24 on twoplustwo) who broke the original scandal on Absolute and possibly UB. I know he contributed a LOT of time and effort to getting this into our communities and making people aware of what he was finding.
    I think it was some guy near Mckinney who questioned why Pokerati wasn’t covering it as it happened. 🙂

  • Some guy near McKinney

    Forgot to add, Nat Arem (N82 50 24 on twoplustwo) should be considered one of the biggest ambassadors to online poker in it’s history thus far for his work that got the ball rolling on the validity of the “conspicary theory” of “superusers”.

  • I’ve always given major credit to Nat Arem for his investigative work and efforts in breaking the story.

    Pokerati has been covering the story for a long time, actually. Some guy, when are you saying we didn’t cover it? Just curious.

  • Jen, I think there was a point with either/both AP/UB where the forums were buzzing, and we “poker media” types weren’t yet paying attention. You know, being so cynical we’re slow sometimes.

    So let me ask the question: Are those of us who at some point held suspicions about Kahnawake’s independence in the audit satisfied with the results?

    Also, what do you think the odds are that we’ll see a cover of a Bluff or CardPlayer with Russ’s mug and the coverline: The Ken Lay of Poker

    Appropriate title?

  • Some guy near McKinney

    Dan is correct with “Jen, I think there was a point with either/both AP/UB where the forums were buzzing, and we “poker media” types weren’t yet paying attention.”.
    It was really just a light hearted jab. 🙂

  • Some guy, it’s cool. And you’re right, we weren’t paying attention until the news got from the forums to poker blogs. But now we’re all over it like Russ Hamilton on a superuser account.

    Dan, I’m satisfied with the KGC’s findings so far, but I’m super curious to see Frank Catania’s results of the Tokwiro investigation. For now, judgment withheld…for the most part.

    The Ken Lay of Poker: appropriate title, but Bluff or CardPlayer would never put this story on the cover and likely won’t cover it with the exception of a small blurb in a news section. We all know they can’t cover the story.

  • JonnyDallas

    Curiously, how is anyone going to be prosecuted in this matter?

    Online poker is illegal in the U.S. Claiming to have been cheated while participating in an illegal activity requires an admission of participation in an illegal activity. It would also require revealing facts about winnings/losses, which I’m sure would get attention from the IRS.

    Its sorta like calling the cops when you get ripped off in a drug deal…you know?

    And would federal authorities really get involved? I’m not sure the Fed is really interested in prosecuting one scumbag in the interest of another perceived group of ‘criminals’.

    My money says the cheaters get off with a bad reputation, loss of action in any legal poker game (banished from all casino games), and maybe some name calling…I suppose there could be some litigation with Kahnawake trying to recover monies that had to be refunded, but not really facing any federal charges. What would the charge be? Wire fraud? Interstate something-aruther? Are there any federal laws regarding cheating in gaming? If a state (Nevada) took up the case, could they prosecute a matter that involved one party in another state?

    I know there are some attorneys who read this blog…opinions?

    And if it can happen, I need to speak to someone about bringing charges against almost every weed dealer I’ve ever had…