Posts Tagged ‘kahnawake-gaming-commission’

(Anti-)Online Gambling Legislation Refiled and Reshuffled

APCW Perspectives

by , Oct 2, 2016 | 6:58 pm

Getting my gaming commentary game back on, with an appearance as a talking head-and-torso for a special Global Gaming Expo episode of APCW Perspectives, featuring venerable online gambling gadfly J. Todd at the mic.

My part begins at about 5:50, after J. and Becky Liggero talk about the American Gaming Association’s new push for nationwide legal sports betting. (Go teams!)

The TL;DR — Kahnawake Gaming Commission is pulling its casinos out of US markets to do business with New Jersey, further putting the squeeze on gray-market online gambling operators … and it’s probably not good that the Senate introduced SB 3376, a placeholder bill for a revised version of Sheldon Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act, um, Act, aka RAWA. Even if the new bill is going nowhere, simply having it in the legislative mix poses a threat. Oh, and happy soon-to-be 10th birthday UIGEA!


Cereus Closing Down Kahnawake Offices?

Informed industry sources say yes; muckrakers say such is 2010

by , Jun 13, 2010 | 7:46 am

No details, and no confirmation … but who wants action!?!

CalvinAyre.com is saying that the Cereus Network — the beleaguered yet thriving online poker+blackjack collective — is shutting down their office in the Kahnawake territory. The Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, of course, roughly 18 square miles located just outside of Montreal, has long been a refuge for online gambling sites operating literally outside the reach of US law. It has been the home of Ulitmate Bet (now UB) since 2001 and Absolute Poker since 2003.

No clue at present what this would mean if true, nor what might be the implications for representative players such as Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth, and Trishelle Cannatella. Maybe it’s simply a matter of Cereus COO Paul Leggett just responding to Daniel Negreanu’s call for him and his business to take a hike?

It’s also possible, of course, that maybe their lease was just up, and they found a sweet new pad with a view of the St. Lawrence River?

We’ll surely see in coming days and weeks. But I’m at least 90 45 72 percent sure that such a move isbig deal in some capacity, and it coincides with more lawuits Pokerati hasn’t even told you about. I literally can’t keep up with all the shizznit heading toward various fans at this moment. I’m trying though … Stay tuned today, tomorrow, and in coming weeks to learn about more business and legal matters that may well affect operations at the 2010 WSOP and beyond.

UPDATE: Plausibly connected … @KevMath (of course) tips me off (and the folks at 2+2) to a letter from the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, dated May 10, 2010, acknowledging a “memo of understanding” between them and the Alderney Gambling Control Commission. Alderney is the small British dependency in the Channel Islands that currently licenses and regulates Full Tilt.

More…


KGC Spokesperson Says List of Hamilton Co-Conspirators Will Not Be Released/Leaked

by , Sep 11, 2009 | 6:03 pm

As soon as the Kahnawake Gaming Commission released its final decision in the UltimateBet cheating scandal, the questions started hitting. Most of them concerned the secrecy around the list of 31 names said to be associated with Russ Hamilton. A discussion with Chuck Barnett, member of the Board of Supervisors of Mohawk Internet Technologies, provided his reasons for not releasing that list of names.

Mr. Barnett first told me that implicating Hamilton in the scandal was not a problem, as it was “very clear” that he was directly connected and responsible for the crimes being alleged. The names of the 31 individuals associated were another story, he says. The Commission had lengthy discussions regarding the release of those names and ultimately consulted their legal team and law enforcement officials.

On the legal front, they deemed it a civil liability issue, as the suspects are directly linked to Hamilton or the 117 accounts listed BUT there is the possibility that they had no knowledge of the scheme. If they were accused and found to be completely oblivious to or innocent of the crimes, there would be liability in falsely accusing them. There is also some question as to each person’s level of culpability, which can’t be known until they are questioned by the proper authorities. And per law enforcement, naming the individuals would impede a criminal investigation, as anyone named may be able to flee the country, hide, etc. With all things considered, the KGC made the decision to withhold the names.

When asked about the law enforcement agencies involved, Mr. Barnett wouldn’t say much. Legally, all he said he could say was all information from the KGC investigation was turned over to “law enforcement,” which had expressed a distinct interest in pursuing the case. He could not say, however, whether those were Canadian or U.S. authorities, only that there were discussions with “regional and national” agencies.

If/when indictments are handed down or prosecutions are made, or if some other permission is given by law enforcement, the KGC will make public the names – and be happy to do it. Until then, based on overwhelming advice, the list will remain a mystery.


KGC Issues Final UB Scandal Report

Account Names Released, Hamilton Said to Have 31 Co-Conspirators

by , | 2:13 pm

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission’s investigation into the UltimateBet cheating scandal has been concluded with the release of its final decision. The 11-page document does provide some new information.

• In total, Tokwiro, owner of UltimateBet, refunded $22,054,351.91 to players affected by the cheating incidences.
• Tokwiro paid $1.5 million in fines, plus the costs of the investigation, to the KGC.
• Tokwiro is on a one-year “probation” period, during which time it must provide all details of daily operations, including financial and gaming records.
• Going forward, Tokwiro must maintain three sets of web/game logs, one of which will be housed at the offices of the KGC.
• All officers, directors, shareholders, and key people associated with Tokwiro must be known to the KGC.
• There were 23 accounts and 117 usernames used in the cheating.
• Much of the stolen money was disbursed through player-to-player transfers on UB.
• Russell Hamilton, associated at the time with eWorld Holdings Group, was primarily responsible for the scandal. The “vast majority” of the IP addresses used were directly connected to Hamilton.
• Hamilton’s actions that constituted “criminal behaviour” were associated with 31 other individuals, whose names were not released in the document.
• All information has been provided to law enforcement authorities to determine if criminal charges can be filed.

The entire decision can be accessed here by clicking on the “News” link.

The accompanying press release stated:

The decision released today reviews the corrective actions that have been taken by Tokwiro over the past 12 months, and concludes that Tokwiro has provided sufficient evidence to justify the continuation of its license to operate, subject to a number of additional conditions of licensure.

“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,” said Chairman Montour.


Is Russ Hamilton about to Get Al Capwned?

IRS wants a word with excommunicated UB leader, too

by , Feb 9, 2009 | 5:31 pm

This is more than just Rumorati … it’s based on actual purported facts and second-hand semi-verified info:

Word is that the IRS has been in direct contact with at least two important and well-informed online pokerers who may or may not have important data on Russ Hamilton and the money stolen via Ultimate Bet. And this is not just some computer in Washington DC sending out form letters — there’s apparently a special agent in Nevada currently investigating the case.

What they’re interested in is 20 million untaxed dollars. And as is starting to get revealed since RawVegas went commando with their cameras, there is clearly more to this case than just an online poker cheating scandal and subsequent tax evasion … there could be some money laundering involved … which is kinda funny (not funny ha ha) because money laundering was one of the primary reasons given for the UIGEA … and now we have an example of how the law to prevent it may indeed have facilitated it.

I don’t know enough about how IRS investigations work to know what kind of teeth this thing really has — but I’d like to think that so long as the Feds keep an eye out for one-way tickets to Costa Rica by any R. Hamilton’s … in the end, one way or another, his fate is not going to be left in the hands of the Kahnawake.


RE: More Problems at UB (2)

UB license in jeopardy with KGC?

by , Dec 22, 2008 | 2:52 pm

Reliable sources say Kahnawake Gaming Commission regulators are less than thrilled about the need for a special holiday session to look into these troublesome pot-shipping matters … but they are aware and already proceeding due-diligently with/against AP/UB=>Cereus. What this will lead to isn’t clear outside the Mohawk Nation (and probably not clear yet inside) … but there’s presumably some uneasiness about the prospect of three-strikes-and-out, as the KGC may or may not be inclined to pull the plug on servers for the troubled company bought by the former Kahnawake Chief.


Perspectives Weekly

by , Dec 12, 2008 | 6:31 am

From APCW.org:

Many of you already know that the Grand Prive Casino Group has elected to steal webmaster commissions. These guys have shut down their affiliate operations while maintaining all the casinos where webmasters sent their traffic. Their casino are eCogra Approved, licensed by Kahnawake, and powered by Microgaming… so what do they think of all this?


Special Report: Grand Prive Steals from Their Partners

by , Dec 10, 2008 | 1:05 pm

The Grand Prive Casino Group recently shut down their affiliate program. However, they continue to run their casinos and profit from the players their webmaster partners sent to them in the past. They have cut their “partners” out of the deal they made with them, and are keeping all the profits!

Webmasters should be informed and take the action they feel is best. Players, do you really want to trust people like this with your deposits or your winnings?


60 Minutes report now online

by , Nov 30, 2008 | 5:44 pm

They report, you decide:


Watch CBS Videos Online

As has been discussed earlier, Mike Sexton, Greg Raymer and Linda Johnson were also interviewed for the story. In this web exclusive, Steve Kroft discusses tells with them, which seems silly to talk about in reference to online poker.


Watch CBS Videos Online


RE: WaPo Story Now Online

Everything all better?

by , Nov 29, 2008 | 9:40 pm

OK, I just read Part 1 of the Washington Post story by Gilbert Gaul on cheating at Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet. I thought it was great and on target and technically correct to the letter when discussing legal matters. I learned a bunch of stuff I didn’t know, too.

Two-and-a-half specific things caught my eye:

(The name of the alleged cheater has circulated widely among poker players on the Internet. The Post is not publishing his name because, even though he purportedly confessed to AbsolutePoker, the company did not release its records and would not discuss the matter. The alleged cheater declined requests to be interviewed.)

Maybe I just haven’t been following it close enough on the forums, but I’m wondering whom they’re referring to here.

The story also doesn’t reference the new formation of Cereus, after acknowledging that UB would likely lose its license and be out of business soon. Hmmm. But that’s really new, and this story was possibly put to bed a few weeks ago?

The other thing is the last graf:

The Kahnawake now say they operate one of the most secure Internet gambling operations in the world. Tokwiro says it has “established cutting-edge security systems that make us the safest site in the industry.” But Catania said he does not expect cheating to stop: “I’m sure there are people out there right now figuring out, let’s say, ‘Here’s a way we can do it again.’

Yikes, that last sentence leaves it open-ended as to how part two of the story will fall when it comes to legalization efforts.

I really like poker’s chances (because I sincerely believe despite our internal battles with shadiness, our industry is on the right side of legal issues here) … and from what I’ve learned in my rookie dabblings in poker (and strip-club) politics, the treatment this story is getting in Washington DC — a big investigative feature spread out over two days with lots of informative sidebars — now guarantees (I’m like 86 percent sure) that our issue is on the 2009 political agenda. I’m not totally comfortable yet, of course. Current feeling in my gut is comparable to waiting for the river when all-in against an 8- or 9-outer. A little unsettling. But hey, that’s what we came here for, right?

In addition to the story itself, the WP’s got a bunch of goodies for those who want to dig deeper, or just check their work:

So there you have it. It would hard to expect anything more thorough. Kudos to “special correspondent Gary Wise“, too, for playing poker-biz fixer for the WP investigative team turning over rocks.


WaPo story now online

by , | 8:01 pm

Part 1 of the WaPo investigative report

They’re running the story over 2 days, Sunday covers the AP/UB situation. Monday asks the question: Should Internet Gambling Be Legal?

The Reporters Notebook by Gilbert M. Gaul helps answer the question as to how the Kahnawake Nation became a leader in online gambling.


RE: 60 Minutes to Air AP/UB Story (2)

Tokwiro fears for reputation of online poker or Tokwiro?

by , Nov 27, 2008 | 9:53 am

Nat Arem sure has sources. He recently received a forward of an inter-company memo from Tokwiro Enterprises COO Paul Leggett regarding the upcoming 60 Minutes story. Leggett has reason to believe that there will be a bias against Tokwiro and its companies, going further to say that online poker will emerge with a bad reputation. Thus, they did not appear on camera for interviews. (A little like saying that the jury has a bias, the judge is going to declare me guilty, so why defend myself?)

Leggett wrote:

“We have every reason to believe that the 60 Minutes producers are intent on portraying the online poker industry and our companies in a negative light, and we do not expect that the program will be either fair or balanced.

Because of 60 Minutes’ apparent bias against Tokwiro and online poker, we have decided not to appear on camera. We have, however, had many conversations with the program’s producers. We provided them with extensive background materials and documents, and we answered questions on-the-record, but off-camera. Despite all this, it is not likely that our views will be properly represented. Therefore, it is important that all of our staff know the following facts about our company:”

The remainder of the memo states some facts about Tokwiro Enterprises and the cheating scandals, most of which were released to the public in UltimateBet, Absolute Poker, or Kahnawake Gaming Commission press releases or statements.

The tone of the memo and words chosen by Leggett indicate that the 60 Minutes piece could portray online poker in a bad light. In fact, what Leggett fears is that Tokwiro and its online poker entities will look bad. Well, that is entirely possible because the way in which the scandals were handled was bad, and if that comes out in the reporting, who is really at fault, especially when the company in question refuses to go on camera with a statement and show otherwise? And in truth, what is said about AP, UB, and Tokwiro really doesn’t reflect on the entire online poker world, and there still remains some hope that the reporters for 60 Minutes and the Washington Post will make that clear distinction.


60 Minutes to Air AP/UB Story This Sunday

by , Nov 25, 2008 | 2:40 pm

The day that UB and AP finally merge to create the Cereus Poker Network, comes this from the 60 Minutes section of CBSnews.com:

THE CHEATERS – 60 MINUTES and The Washington Post reveal how online poker players suspecting cheating were forced to successfully ferret out the cheaters themselves. That’s because managers of the mostly-unregulated $18 billion Internet gambling industry failed to respond to their complaints. Steve Kroft and The Washington Post’s Gilbert Gaul report. Ira Rosen is the producer.

It’ll be the first story on this coming Sunday’s 60 Minutes broadcast, and should be available online by Monday morning.


RE: Paul Leggett Speaks (At Length) about Tokwiro, AP, UB, Kahnawake, Joe Norton

by , Nov 13, 2008 | 8:13 am

Of particular interest to me in this series of Tokwiro-sponsored videos was Leggett’s confirmation that no one was or will be legally prosecuted in the Absolute Poker scandal.

When the perpetrator was discovered in the AP insider cheating scandal, he was given protection from prosecution in exchange for information about the crime. If he told Tokwiro exactly how he got the hole card information, his name would not be released to the public and no legal action would be pursued. Leggett said that the Kahnawake Gaming Commission still reserves the right to prosecute if they so choose, but Tokwiro will not.

Leggett noted that the $800K that was stolen during the crime was still in the cheater’s online account and thus confiscated by Tokwiro to repay customers. However, Tokwiro had to pay an additional $800K out-of-pocket in interest to those customers. I guess the perpetrator’s inside info was worth nearly a million bucks…

Also interesting was the specific mention of Scott Tom in order to clear his name. Leggett said that he was only implicated because his IP address was used by the cheater. Really? So, does this make AJ Green a.k.a. AJ Grimard the one and only perpetrator, as no effort was made to clear him? And I suppose the lessons learned in the AP scandal better prepared Tokwiro to identify the problems in the UB scandal, not needing any information from Russ Hamilton and allowing prosecution in that case.

This is discussed in the video below (Part 2, Section 2) and starts at the beginning:


Paul Legget Speaks (at Length) about Tokwiro, AP, UB, Kahnawake, Joe Norton

And Annie Duke Says: “I don’t think there’s anywhere safer to play.”

by , | 6:49 am

It’s not quite 60 Minutes … in fact, it’s closer to 73 minutes. Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet honcho Paul Leggett speaks with the CBC’s (Canadian Broadcast Company) Susan Reisler for an extremely detailed and stoic Q&A. I can tell you I’m very suspicious. This looks like an infomercial to me. (The apparent title of the show is simply “Poker” — I wasn’t aware of that investigative journalism news program.) Though she gets into all the controversial issues — and even the inbred nature of AP/UB/Tokwiro/Norton/Kahnawake — there’s no follow-up to anything that might sound peculiar (like the inbred nature of AP/UB/Tokwiro/Norton/Kahnawake) … she just allows him to state the facts and timelines, as if he were giving a legal deposition under questioning from his own attorney.

CONFIRMED: This is indeed a production by Tokwiro Enterprises, aka AP/UB. Anyone wanna wager on how many attorneys were standing off-camera to keep all commentary in legal line?

Sorry if I sound cynical. Really, it’s an admirable effort from Paul Leggett, the guy Annie Duke stands so strongly behind. Via the mock news program format, he addresses just about any question any of us have had about the whole Black Sox of Poker sitch. Kudos to you, Mr. Leggett, seriously, and thanks for finally coming forward with so much candid info. Personally, I’m starting to see your point of view on all this … and there were only a few questions where your answers made me wonder why Ms. Reisler didn’t follow up with: “But don’t you think that sounds fucked up?”

Click here for the entire 9-part library
… bonus points if you can find the point where Leggett says “We were the victim here.”

Also check out the vid below, where Annie Duke speaks her mind on why she’s so loyal and has so much faith in AP/UB security … right down to algorithms and dealing with bots … and be sure to watch 4 minutes and 10 seconds in, where Reisler does her 60 Minutes style wrap-up: Everything is safe and secure, and Russell Hamilton is the Ultimate Bad Guy — he’s not part of Tokwiro and is in really big trouble if they can ever get their hands on him.

[Cue neoclassical new-age healing music.]

NOTE: KafkaCR? That’s the new YouTube video uploader’s name … OK, the CR is for Costa Rica … but Kafka? The Jewish-Bohemian novelist who, according to Wikipedia, wrote about “troubled individuals in a nightmarishly impersonal and bureaucratic world”?

Oh, wait … I get it … Metamorphisis! Very clever project name, whether intentional or not.