Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CBS "60 Minutes" Segment On Online Poker Cheating Scandals To Air Soon!

In addition to the buzz around the seizure of 141 internet gambling domains by the Governor of Kentucky, an upcoming story by CBS’ “60 Minutes” has also been the center of discussion at the CAP Euro Barcelona event. Poker News Daily has learned that the story by “60 Minutes” should air on Sunday, October 26th, just days before the general elections in the United States. The program will likely cover the user scandals at Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker, which have made headlines across the poker world in recent months.

The story by the longstanding news magazine will focus on the scandals that have rocked Ultimate Bet and may include the POTRIPPER issues at its sister site, Absolute Poker. In addition, the rumor around the industry is that “60 Minutes” is teaming up with a major newspaper for the story, which may be just weeks from airing. In its last update on the NioNio scandal that rocked the online poker site, Ultimate Bet listed additional user names that were involved: Crackcorn55, WhakMe, GrabBag123, gravitation, Bgroup, H_Curtis, Twenty 1, WacoManiac, Broke_In_L_A, ShaqTack, BlueBerry101, HolyMucker, 55WasHere, Xnomas, dannyboy55, Indy05, and SlimPikins2.

The cheating on Ultimate Bet began back in 2005, one year before its current ownership group, Tokwiro, purchased the site. Also in June, Ultimate Bet was scheduled to begin the refund process for players who were affected by the abuse. The transgressions surrounded the exploitation of an auditing tool which enabled its users to view the hole cards of every player at an online poker table.

In May, Ultimate Bet’s parent company released a statement that included the following: “We would like to thank our customers for their patience, loyalty, and support, as well as for their understanding that we are doing everything we can to correct this situation. The staff and management of Ultimate Bet are fully committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our players and we want to assure customers of our unwavering resolve to monitor site security with every resource at our disposal.”

Since then, one of the accounts in question was linked to a Las Vegas owned home of Russ Hamilton, one of the former owners of the site. However, no admission has been given publicly by Hamilton. Over the summer, Team PokerStars Pro member Barry Greenstein and Joe Sebok traveled to Hamilton’s residence. Greenstein came away from the interview feeling as if, by the time the truth was known, Hamilton would not be one of those indicted.

A $75 million claim filed against a software manufacturer was the subject of an article by MSNBC with the title “Poker site cheating plot a high-stakes whodunit.” The article, which was published last week, seemed to trump any momentum “60 Minutes” would have had, although the television station’s program is likely to be more visible.

The latest move in the Ultimate Bet investigation was the Kahnawake Gaming Commission naming Frank Catania, a former gaming regulator in the state of New Jersey, to lead a formal inquiry into the matter. His website,, states that he “serves as one of three independent directors of eCOGRA. He served as the first president of the International Masters of Gaming Law, a non-profit association dedicated to the education and advancement of gaming law, vice chair and chair, respectively, of the International Association of Gaming Regulators and past chairman of the Forum of American Casino Regulators.”

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