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Russ Hamilton named as perpetrator in Ultimate Bet cheating scandal

30 September 2008

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) has released the initial findings of an audit conducted on licensee Ultimate Bet in regards to allegations of cheating at the popular poker site in January. Along with imposing deadlines for Ultimate Bet customers to be reimbursed and levying a $1.5 million fine, the KGC also fingered former World Series of Poker Main Event champion Russ Hamilton as the primary perpetrator behind the scandal in a statement posted on its Web site late Monday night.

According to the statement, the KGC found "clear and convincing evidence" that Hamilton, who was identified as "an individual associated with Ultimate Bet's affiliate program," was the main person "responsible for and benefiting from the multiple cheating incidents" that took place between May 2004 and January 2008. The statement went on to say that the KGC is 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."

The audit was conducted by Catania Gaming Consultants and was spearheaded by Frank Catania, a former New Jersey State Gaming Regulator who was quoted in the statement as saying his intention is to "provide further information as it is uncovered" and that "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."

The cheating allegations at Ultimate Bet, which first surfaced in January, marked the second time in less than a year that a Tokwiro property has had to investigate unfair play at one of its poker rooms. In January, the KGC fined Tokwiro's Absolute Poker $500,000 after it was revealed players with "superuser" accounts that could see hole cards of opponents had cheated. In May, Ultimate Bet's owners, Tokwiro admitted Ultimate Bet's security had been breached by former employees and accounts with access to opponent's hole cards were used to cheat in high-stakes games.

Ultimate Bet has until Nov. 3, 2008 to reimburse an estimated $6.1 million to players' accounts found to have been adversely impacted by the cheating activity. In addition, Ultimate Bet must 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.

According to the statement, the $1.5 million fine must be paid by Ultimate Bet to the KGC for its failure to implement and enforce measures to prohibit and detect fraudulent activities. The statement ended by saying that Ultimate Bet's failure to comply fully with the measures will result in the "immediate revocation of its KGC gaming permit."

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Russ Hamilton named as perpetrator in Ultimate Bet cheating scandal is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.