The Kahnawake Gaming Commission today reported the initial findings of an audit being conducted on its licensee, Ultimate Bet, following a cheating scandal which spanned three-and-a-half years.
The audit, which has been underway since August under the direction of Frank Catania Sr., president of Catania Gaming Consultants and former director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, has turned up the name of the main individual responsible for the scheme that siphoned more than $6.1** million from player accounts.
The cheating, which was first discovered by members of a popular online poker community, has been found to have been perpetrated mainly by Russ Hamilton, the World Series of Poker winner who was formerly associated with Ultimate Bet's affiliate program, according to the commission.
It is understood that Mr. Hamilton is not the only individual involved, and other names are likely to come out in the final report.
The commission said it is in contact with the appropriate law enforcement agencies and intends to fully cooperate with the prosecution of all individuals involved.
As a result of the damning findings, the commission has imposed the following sanctions against Ultimate Bet:
By Nov. 3, 2008, Ultimate Bet must:
Begin refunding all players adversely affected by the cheating scheme. The company has refunded $6.1 million to date, but this summer received another round of refund requests.
Remove from the company all persons deemed by the commission as "unsuitable," including all levels of ownership, management and operation, and is required to continue to provide complete details of all day-to-day operations of the company.
Ultimate Bet has also been issued a $1.5 million fine.
However, if the company fails to fully comply with any of the imposed sanctions, which are merely initial sanctions, the commission will immediately revoke its license.
**Editor's Note: It has been brought to the attention of IGamingNews that the sum, $60 million, which appeared initially in this report, was incorrect. The sum should instead be $6.1 million, as it now stands.
is the senior staff writer at IGamingNews. She lives in St. Louis, Mo.