Gaming Strategy
Featured Stories
Legal News Financial News Casino Opening and Remodeling News Gaming Industry Executives Author Home Author Archives Search Articles Subscribe
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Kevin Smith

The Stalemate Carries On

30 May 2002

Nearly two months after tensions came to a head between the officials with the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and Sunny Group Casinos, an investigation to sort out details continues.

The commission solicited the Catania Consulting Group in early April after officials with the Sunny Group made public claims that personnel and computer hardware had been tampered with by officials with Mohawk Internet Technologies, the commission's hosting facility in Canada.

The dispute came about when Sunny decided to switch software suppliers for its casinos. As part of the switch to Playtech, from Microgaming, the firm decided to move its servers to a different jurisdiction.

The controversy boiled over when officials with Sunny Group tried to remove their servers from MIT premises and weren't aloud to do so, per requirements from the gaming commission.

Sunny Group was outraged, and complained that members of its staff were physically prevented from getting to the servers, a claim that MIT CEO Michael Tobin adamantly denies.

Tobin said Sunny Group was prevented from removing its servers because protocol with commission guidelines require that software suppliers and operators mutually agree to what material and information on the server belongs to each party before it can be removed.

Because guidelines weren't followed, he said, the server was taken offline and stored on MIT premises until a review could be conducted.

A spokesperson with Catania said the investigation is still underway and both sides are trying to sort out the best way to move on from the disagreement. At the center of the debate is what belongs to Microgaming, the gaming software and source code, and what belongs to Sunny Group, player databases and tracking information, and how best to make sure neither side gets information it isn't entitled to.

At the height of the disagreement, Sunny Group had leveraged claims that Microgaming and MIT personal had tampered with the company's server. A company spokesperson said it would probably be too expensive to prove there was tampering, but he was hopeful the two sides could reach an agreement quickly.

Tobin holds the same stance he did two months ago when the dispute arose: that MIT officials were strictly following code and standards set by the commission and that any involvement in the dispute was done unwillingly, as Sunny Group dragged MIT in the middle of their dispute with Microgaming.

He said that operators had switched suppliers in the past and as long as they let the commission know of their desire, and the software supplier was able to clear the server of any proprietary technology, a seamless switch was made. A lack of communication between Sunny Group and MIT caused much of the problem, he said. No one for the operator contacted him, or anyone on his staff, to inform them of their desire or intention to switch suppliers.

The parting of ways between Sunny Group and Microgaming, which ended a seven-year relationship, was a classic case of he said/she said.

Sunny Group came out with public claims that it was dropping Microgaming because of concerns that the supplier was rigging its random number generator to force players to lose more than they should. They were also unhappy with response time of various requests from Microgaming to produce audit reports and other service related issues.

Microgaming responded with a public statement of its own, claiming that it was actually the one to break the relationship off after Sunny Group failed to meet numerous payment deadlines. It claimed Sunny Group missed licensing fees and royalty fees on more than one occasion.

The commission was brought into the middle of the dispute when Sunny Group claimed a member of its staff was unable to secure the company's servers and was physically removed from Mohawk Internet Technologies' hosting facility.

The commission said the servers couldn't be worked on because certain protocol had to be followed if an operator chose to either relocate or switch software suppliers. The commission said that neither it nor MIT was notified of Sunny Group's intentions to switch to Playtech or move to Antigua.

There is no timetable on when the investigation will be completed.

The Stalemate Carries On is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith