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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Microgaming poker scandal: licensee in liquidation, and poker players abandoned and owed $5,300,000

This is another long article, so I've broken it down into twelve sections for the sake of readability. Clicking on any of these index links will take you to the relevant section below.

• Microgaming poker
• Removal of eCOGRA seals from the Tusk group casinos, and casino response
• Microgaming revokes the Tusk group's license
• Liquidators are appointed, "Casino Rewards" takes over the Tusk casinos
• The poker rooms: the skin concept and arrangement with Microgaming
• Microgaming ignores the poker players AND their skin business partners
• Microgaming breaks silence to deny any responsibility
• Is Microgaming going to honour the balances of the Tusk players?
• Should Microgaming honour these balances?
• Players can expect no more than 15% from the liquidation of Tusk
• Full list of Microgaming poker rooms
• Comments

Microgaming poker

Microgaming Poker was launched in 2003, an offshoot of online gambling software provider Microgaming. Originally called "Prima Poker", it was rebranded to reflect the provider's name in 2006.

The Wikipedia Microgaming entry makes interesting reading:

In late February 2008, twenty-seven Microgaming-powered poker rooms closed when their licensee Tusk Investment Corporation Limited went into insolvent liquidation, leaving all players who had funds in those rooms to claim as unsecured creditors in the liquidation.

It is not yet known whether players will recover any of their money.

So, what happened?

Removal of eCOGRA seals from the Tusk group casinos, and casino response

On February 15th 2008, online gambling operation eCOGRA announced the suspension of eCOGRA seals from the six Microgaming casinos belonging to the Casino Action group:

An onsite review was recently conducted by eCOGRA`s Compliance and Advisory Services staff at the operations for the following casinos as part of a normal seal renewal process:

Challenge - www.challengecasino.com
Golden Reef - www.goldenreefcasino.com
I Big Casino - www.ibigcasino.com
Music Hall - www.musichallcasino.com
Nostalgia - www.nostalgiacasino.com
UK Casino Club - www.ukcasinoclub.com

The audit revealed failures in compliance with eCOGRA`s Generally Accepted Practices. It has therefore been decided to suspend these seals pending further investigation.

The matter was also reported in the Casinomeister eCOGRA seals suspension thread.

On February 20th, a representative of Casino Action gave the following update:

We have been in discussions with eCogra and these purely administrative issues will be resolved shortly.

In no way has our honesty, integrity or customer service been questioned and our reputation speaks for itself!

We are expecting our eCogra seals will be reinstated very soon, but in the meantime it is business as usual.

This turned out to be a quite spectacularly untrue.

Microgaming revokes the Tusk group's license

Just seven days later, Microgaming issued the following Tusk licence termination statement, reported by online gambling commentator Brian Cullingworth:

Company Statement:

Microgaming announces that it has terminated its software licence with Tusk Investment Corporation - with immediate effect, after having received Tusk's notification of its plans to put the Company into liquidation.

Microgaming is presently gathering all facts related to this matter and will provide further announcements as and when information becomes available.'

About Tusk

Tusk Investment Corporation Limited operates a number of casino sites and poker rooms:


Challenge Casino
Golden Reef Casino
Music Hall Casino
Nostalgia Casino
UK Casino Club
Big Casino

Poker rooms:

Battlefield Poker
Royal Card Club
Red Nines
Arctic Poker
Raw Poker
Daily Poker
Flush Draw Poker
Will Bet Poker
Bet Road Poker
Grand Central Poker
Off The Rail Poker
Privy Poker
Berserk Poker
Atomik Poker
Dave's Poker Room
Hetman Poker
Hot Pepper Poker
Poker Seas
TilttAA Poker
Loose Games Poker
CPT Gaming Poker
Ice Bear Poker
GoHard Poker
Caya Poker
Mr Urban Poker
Poker Sweden
Euro Poker Dream

That eCOGRA had described the financial collapse of six casinos and twenty eight poker rooms as an "administrational issue", and failed to issue any pertinent warning as to the severity of the matter at any point, is just one of many damning indictments of the online gambling industry that were seen as this issue continued to play out.

Liquidators are appointed, and the "Casino Rewards" group takes over the Tusk casinos

A month later, Microgaming announced that liquidators had been appointed - see the 20th March press release:


ISLE OF MAN - Microgaming can confirm that a Brisbane based liquidator has been appointed by Tusk Corporation and ratified by the regulatory authorities in Vanuatu. Microgaming has been in contact with the liquidator and been informed that they are currently in the process of gathering all the relevant financial information from Tusk Corporation. The liquidator made it clear that this process may take some time, however, Microgaming has been led to believe that affected players will receive information on how to lodge their claims with the liquidator by the end of next week. Microgaming appreciates that the slow process is causing continued frustration among the playing community, but unfortunately it is not in a position to influence the speed of the legal process. Microgaming will endeavour to keep players informed as more information is made available.

On the same day, in the Casino Rewards adds six casinos to its network article, PR Web announced that the six casinos were to be taken over by the Casino Rewards group:

March 20, 2008 -- All online casinos operating under the Casino Action group will soon be under the Casino Rewards management, and ready for a grand reopening on March 25, 2008.

All player accounts in the aforementioned casinos will be safely transferred to the Casino Rewards network, with all account balances, withdrawals, and bonus credits available for immediate use.

So, in the end things turned out satisfactorily for the customers of the six casinos.

But what about the customers of the twenty eight poker rooms? Who is responsible for paying these players their balances?

The poker rooms: Tusk skin "Red Nines" describes the skin concept and their arrangement with Microgaming

These poker rooms were all "skins", or "white labels", of Tusk Investment Corportation, operating their poker branch under the name "My Poker Profit". Skins are glorified affiliate sites which send players to the parent company (in this case, Tusk) but with no access to player funds, the financial side being handled exclusively by the parent company. The "skin" has information on player numbers and maybe other relatively trivial matters, but they have no control over the finances.

For an excellent operator's description of the skin concept, and other relevant matters, see the open letter to Microgaming written by one of the skin owners, Red Nines Poker:

At the end of 2005, Rednines contacted Microgaming (then named Prima Poker) to explore the possibilities of becoming a skin into the Microgaming network.

We were advised by Microgaming to contact Tusk to get a deal through them instead, since they had a deal in place with Microgaming which made it possible for new partners to get a skin up and running within days.

This process is known as a white label solution, which means that our work on Rednines.com would basically be to get players, and get a revenue share of these players. In other words, Tusk / MyPokerProfit.com would take care of everything from Payment Gateways, holding on to player funds, dealing with Microgaming and handling customer support.

The only information we had access to was the players signed up through Rednines.com, we could see their names, emails and their current rake. We had no way of even making a deposit to a players account without going through Tusk / MyPokerProfit first. In fact any poker room related issue had to go through TUSK.

Microgaming ignores the poker players AND their skin business partners

The poker side of the Tusk collapse has been discussed at huge length in the 27 Microgaming skins to close discussion at the 2+2 forum. I have not read every one of the 3000+ posts, but what I have read represents little useful information; for the most part, players are expressing their general confusion and anger, and a hope that their balances will not be lost.

One startling fact to emerge from the discussion is that the skin operators appear to have been treated with the same scant disregard by software provider Microgaming as the players. If you look again at the Red Nines open letter:

Rednines.com is no longer running, along with BattlefieldPoker.com and several other white label solutions of Tusk / MyPokerProfit. Microgaming has not reached out to us, nor have we been able to get a hold of anyone with a say in Microgaming that could help us solve what happened. Even though it is several months since Tusk went bankrupt we have at several occasions tried to get a hold of someone that could take responsibility for what happened - unfortunately without success.

I have been told by many that they feel Rednines.com should pay up for player balances and their losses, and I can understand their frustration. The problem is that we never saw any of these deposits, we simply got a revenue share for our players rake. This was around $25,000 gross profit every month for the months we were operative. Microgaming was actually making a bigger profit than us on our players.

I would like to see Microgaming take a stand in this matter, and be the responsible party, which means they should pay for the player balances.

This latter feeling is also expressed by the players, some of whom took it for granted that Microgaming would honour their balances - these comments are taken from the mighty 2+2 thread:

I believe Microgaming has covered players' balances when things like this have happened with casinos running their software before.

All the balances are covered by Micro Gaming.

Microgaming has been around since before online poker, and I don't think a player has ever lost money when one of their casinos or poker rooms shut down. I'm sure your money is safe.

In this case I would think that Microgaming would step in to cover player balances, and as such your money should be safe.

I really doubt that Microgaming will allow the money in accounts to be lost.

Unfortunately, notwithstanding the opinions and hopes of both players and skin operators alike, Microgaming has failed to communicate.

Microgaming breaks silence to deny any responsibility

In mid-2008, six months after Tusk / My Poker Profit collapsed, Microgaming received a letter from a lawyer representing one of the players who had a large investment, notifying them of a proposed court action. The player in question reported the matter in this short 2+2 post:

MG denies responsibility

My dad sent microgaming a letter notifying them he was intending to take them to court. Within 4 days he got a response from a firm in Toronto( they have hired legal counsel already) saying they take no responsibility and that our accusations against them were erroneous.

So: no comment from Microgaming, apart from one denial of responsibility when they were forced to respond.

There are therefore two questions to ask:

1: Is Microgaming going to honour the balances of the players involved in the Tusk collapse?

They may yet, but it doesn't look good. They have been uncommunicative to all involved parties, and the one occasion that they chose to break silence was to deny any responsability. It may be the case that they are waiting for the liquidation to run its course, at which point they'll survey the damage and take the necessary remedial action.

However, since they know the numbers involved from the liquidation report (see below), they know exactly the extent of their potential liability and should therefore be able to give some sort of indication of their intentions. The fact that they have not done so suggests to me that they are not planning on making the players whole.

So it's not looking good.

2: Should Microgaming honour these balances?

This one's easy. Yes. Microgaming should compensate the poker customers of failed licensee Tusk Investment Corporation, notwithstanding the fact that, as the software provider, they have no legal liability. There are two reasons for this:

In the first place, it's the right thing to do and they've done it before.

It's the right thing to do because the players are, at the end of the day, customers of Microgaming. Players, for their part, then have the confidence of knowing that, whichever licensee or skin they're patronising, they are safe because Microgaming is safe. Good for Microgaming, good for the players.

When the Tropika group failed in 2001, Microgaming paid - see the Microgaming to pay all Tropika players thread from Winneronline.

When Goodfellas Casino failed, Microgaming paid - see the Goodfellas thread at Winneronline.

On these occasions, Microgaming did the right thing and should receive all due credit.

Why would they not now?

In the second place, Microgaming have resposibility for having directed the skins to Tusk in the first place - look again at the open letter at 2+2:

We met Microgaming and their representatives at a hotel in London in early 2006 in connection with the ICE gaming show. During this meeting Microgaming stressed the fact that they were backlogged in the process of accepting and adding new skins to their network already.

We were then advised by Microgaming to contact Tusk (also known as MyPokerProfit.com) to get a deal through them instead, since they had a deal in place with Microgaming which made it possible for new partners to get a skin up and running within days.

This was far away from what we would prefer. Maybe we are guilty of being naive, but as Microgaming said it was an easy way to join the network, and Tusk/MyPokerProfits way of doing business was condoned by Microgaming themselves. This made the deal seem legit and secure for us.

In addition to this, Microgaming said that once we were integrated in Tusk/MyPokerProfit’s system, it would be an easy process to re-convert us over to Microgaming as a regular partner once their queue was less backlogged.

So, Microgaming specifically directed these potential skin customers to Tusk.

And Tusk failed.

If you look at the liquidator's report to creditors, you can see that during the financial year in which Microgaming recommended Tusk to skins Battlefiend and Red Nines, they were hardly doing well:

Tusk annual profit loss figures

Total profit $282,000 for the year.

Maybe in late 2005, when Microgaming made the Tusk recommendation to these skins, they were doing less badly.

Or maybe they only had the 2005 report to go by, which may have been better.

Or maybe Microgaming knew that Tusk was struggling, and tried to help by sending them skin customers. Now there's a thought.

Or maybe they didn't look at the figures at all.

However, at the end of the day, Microgaming recommended Tusk.

Players can expect no more than 15% from the liquidation of Tusk

Assuming Microgaming fails to honour the players, they can they expect to receive around fifteen percent of their balances from the liquidation:

Tusk creditors
Tusk cash in bank

The $1,400,000 cash in the bank against the $9,000,000 total creditors is about 15%.

Of that $9,000,000, the sum total of the poker player balances is a cool $5,312,923:

Tusk individual creditors

Hopefully, Microgaming will break silence on this and offer to compensate the affected players. If they do not, it will be their first failure in these circumstances, and it will send a big, fat, red warning to players that their deposits at Microgaming operations are no longer safe.

Full list of Microgaming poker rooms

As such, here is a full list of the Microgaming poker clients:

24 Poker
32Red Poker
Apuestas Poker
Aspinalls Poker
Aztec Riches Poker
Bet On Bet Poker
Betshop Poker
Betway Poker
Canbet Poker
Captain Cook's Poker
Carlos Poker
Colosseum Poker
Cool Hand Poker
Crazy Poker
Eurolinx Poker
Globet Poker
Gnuf Poker
Go Wild Poker
Golden Riviera Poker
Golden Tiger Poker
Grand Bay Poker
Intertops Poker
Jbet poker
Jennings Poker
Ladbrokes Poker
MM Poker
Nordic Bet Poker
Poker Rewards
Poker Share
Poker Time
Purple Lounge Poker
Roxy Poker
Royal Vegas Poker
Spin Palace Poker
Stan James Poker
Tell Poker
Triobet Poker
Unibet Poker
Virtual City Poker
Wild Jack Poker

The point of listing all these Microgaming poker rooms is not to warn players to not patronise them - some, like Ladbrokes, are big names and very solid.

The point is to be aware that should any of them fail, it must not be automatically assumed that Microgaming will bail out the players, as once was the case; as such, players should not simply rely on the name of Microgaming when choosing to play there.

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6 Previous Comments

I never knew Microgaming advised people to go with Tusk. That was not their smartest move.

By Blogger Sandracer, at 3:35 pm  

Wow Microgaming looks really bad here. I'll be cashing out my money from eurolinx. Definitely do not feel safe playing on their network. Guess its back to pokerstars for me.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:32 pm  

The player whose dad got to date the only response from Microgaming has claimed that Microgaming have held these funds from the word go and were attempting to scam the players - see his Microgaming attempting to scam the players money post.

A monumental claim, which would probably spell the end for Microgaming if true.

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By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:12 pm  

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Post a Comment

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Casino Club confiscates a 25000 euro deposit, a 167500 euro jackpot and effectively accuses Boss Media of rigged software

Since this article is rather long, I've broken it down into twelve sections.

Deposits and jackpot hit
Confiscation of €198,756 and Casino Club response
Solicitor's letter
Summary of main points of the letter
Analysis of the arguments and claims
   •Prediction software
   •Female account
   •Possibility of legal action
Casino Club claims "false address" for the player
Is this what really happened?
The progressive jackpot doesn't belong to the casino
Total confiscated funds include the deposits of €25,000

Deposits and jackpot hit

In late July 2008, player "Mike64" deposited €25,000 at Casino Club, subject of my recent €8000 theft article.

Casino Club was running a 20% bonus campaign at the time, and the player accordingly received €5000 in bonuses.

A week later, on 3rd August 2008 and after some blackjack play, "Mike64" switched to playing a video poker game with a big progressive jackpot - and hit it at €167,500, increasing his balance to €198,756.

The winning hand can be seen in the player's game logs...

progressive royal flush shown in gamelogs

...and the hit was confirmed in the newsletter:

progressive royal flush featuring in Casino Club newsletter

The month could not have started any better for our member Mike64, with a video poker jackpot win of €167. Well done!

Confiscation of €198,756 and Casino Club response

However, when the player subsequently logged into his account, it was locked, and he was apparently unable to ascertain why.

After months of no contact with the casino, the player posted his experience at a German casino forum, and the matter was also raised at Casinomeister.

The player filed a complaint with Casinomeister, and was banned very quickly:

Apparently the casino is taking legal action against this player who has misrepresented himself (and his PAB for that matter). From what I gather, he has given a false address so it's difficult to send him the legal papers.

Max told the guy that we were putting his PAB on hold until the legal stuff is cleared up. But since it looks as though this is ANOTHER case of player fraud at CC, we've suspended his account.

The player was barred because it "looks like" fraud, an unsubstantiated allegation on the part of the casino.

So, again, it's "guilty until proven innocent" in Casinomeister land when Casino Club is the subject of the discussion.

This was the Casino Club response:

A player that was found to be, beyond any reasonable doubt, a fraudulent player, connected to a group of BOT and Bonus Abusers.

This player, and others connected to him, managed to "win" and withdraw considerable amounts of money from Casino Club during first half of 2008 (and earlier) through non-allowed gaming behavior.

Using money "won" in non-allowed gaming behavior, this player won a Jackpot in Casino Club.

At the same time period, a legal case was opened against this player, all related accounts closed pending a resolution of this case.

Likewise all money won in Jackpot is frozen pending resolution.

Solicitor's letter

The "legal case" that Casino Club refers to is simply a solicitor's letter, sent to the player by Hambach & Hambach, a legal firm specialising in gambling law, telling the player "Mike64" why Casino Club did not plan on paying him any time soon.

Here is a reasonable translation of the relevant parts of the original German - I've highlighted the important bits:

After an inspection of your personal data and player account...your IP data as well as your blackjack play showed evidence of suspicious activity, which is why your account was blocked and we were instructed to undertake the investigation.

Suspicious activities

Based on your login data of June 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th and July 6th 2008 at Casino Club, patterns of play have been noted in most of your blackjack sessions which have ascertained and confirmed, unambiguously, the use of illegal software programs...which made statistical predictions to calculate play strategy. You did this to gain (financial) advantage.

The play sessions in question, of June and July 2008, correspond to such patterns of software-supported play which are expressly prohibited at Casino Club, as stated in the general terms and conditions.

Upon registering at Casino Club you agreed to the general terms of business; they include, amongst other things, provisions for abuse.

1) In point 22 of the "terms of business" you agreed to the use of no unlawful software or automatic play programmes. The examination of your login data and the pattern of your play points unambiguously to the fact that you infringed this clause.

2) Based on the investigation of your play (use of so-called "bots") our client is authorised to close your accounts and withhold any profits.

3) Additionally, our client has evidence pointing to another infringement of the terms of business, namely an infringement of 12 of the "commercial condition". This relates to the infringement of the rule stating that a user of Casino Club may only have one account. According to the information currently available you have at least one other player account with female contact data.

Legal results

On the basis of this investigation, fraudulent behaviour is technically and legally proven.

Accordingly, you are prohibited from having accounts with Casino Club with immediate effect.

We ask you to refrain from making any further payment inquiries to our client or the payment support team.

Because the profits from the above-mentioned activities were used for subsequent game play, your account, username and password have been deleted. No claim to the original account balance exists.

Additionally, we maintain the right to claim for damages on behalf of our client, caused by your illegal activity and contrary to the terms of the agreement. This includes any costs incurred through a legal defence.

In addition, we have informed our client of our findings of wilful deception, and that an appropriate judicial procedure could be initiated.

Summary of main points of the letter

There are three main points here:

1) The player used a programme that was able to effectively circumvent the software's random number generator and enable the player to play in such a way as to gain a statistical edge. The casino has this information "ascertained and confirmed, unambiguously".

2) There is an additional account with "female contact data" in this player's possession.

3) The lawyers have told the casino that legal proceedings could be initiated.

Analysis of the arguments and claims

Taking these matters in order:

1) Prediction software

The casino's claim that the player used "illegal software programs which made statistical predictions to calculate play strategy" ranks amongst the most absurd, risable claims I have ever seen from an online casino. Casino Club is effectively accusing their software provider, Boss Media (and, as such, accusing THEMSELVES), of using non-random software - because if software is random and fair it is not possible, however you organise your wagers or play your cards, to gain an edge. If the impossible were possible, casinos would simply not exist.

Casino Club and their lawyers would do worse than read Michael Shakleford's article "The truth about betting systems", a subject they are clearly ignorant about. The only way it would be possible to get an advantage over the Boss Media software would be if there were a non-random element that could be predicted.

Boss Media software is tested and certified by Technical Systems Testing, a globally-regarded software testing company for terrestrial and interactive / online gambling systems.

TST has tested and certified Boss Media software - see this TST certification of Boss Media RNG letter:

It is TST's position that the Boss Media core RNG generates outcomes that are fairly distributed, sufficiently non-predictable and unbiased to any particular outcomes.

Now compare this to the solicitor's letter, where the player is accused of...

...the use of illegal software programs which made statistical predictions to calculate play strategy.

As such, in addition to accusing the player of the impossible, Casino Club is accusing 1) Boss Media of non-random software and 2) TST of not doing its job correctly.

I wonder how Boss Media and TST feel about this?

To compound this absurd and dangerous allegation, Casino Club claims that all this is "ascertained and confirmed, unambiguously".

Where is the proof, then? Is Boss Media aware that their software is "ascertained and confirmed, unambiguously" to be non-random, when their own testing facility has issued a certification based on the direct opposite?

Has TST now confirmed that Boss Media's RNG is "ascertained and confirmed, unambiguously" non-random?

This claim on the part of Casino Club is ignorant and idiotic beyond description.

2) Female account

The solicitor's letter's second point, that of an "additional account with female contact data", is mentioned right at the end of the accusations, taking second place to the preposterous "illegal prediction software" claim. One would have to assume therefore that the evidence for this is even shakier than the non-evidence of the "prediction software". Why would this rather standard online casino winnings confiscation excuse not take centre stage? It would have at least the credibility of the commonplace, if still totally unproven. Yet they position it almost as an afterthought.

My guess would be that the evidence for this is very shaky, and almost certainly legally unsubstantiatable.

3) Possibility of legal action

The lawyer letter's concluding remarks are important to read in conjunction with the Casino Club statement:

We maintain the right to claim for damages on behalf of our client.

In addition, we have informed our client of our findings of wilful deception, and that an appropriate judicial procedure could be initiated.

Casino Club said something very different:

At the same time period, a legal case was opened against this player, all related accounts closed pending a resolution of this case.

This is incorrect. There is no "legal case".

The lawyer letter above, which would cost about a hundred euros to have sent, does not represent a court case or the notification of any such pending procedure. It simply states the situation and that rights are reserved to take further action as and when.

So why does casino claim that "...a legal case was opened against this player"?

Irrespective of Casino Club's misinterpretation of a solicitor letter as a "legal case", one has to ask: why does the solicitor even raise this issue? What might the casino claim from the player?

Before depositing for these bonuses totalling €5000, giving a starting balance total of €30,000, the player's account was empty. Whatever deposits and withdrawals had been previously made, these were out of his casino account.

So, does the lawyer "maintain the right to claim for damages" and state that "appropriate judicial procedure could be initiated" on the basis of withdrawals previously made? Clearly they will not mount an "appropriate judicial procedure" on the basis of money which they owe the player - you do not sue people for money you owe them, it's the other way round.

To confiscate €198,000 from a player's account and then suggest that they might also take legal action against him is an extraordinarily bizarre situation.

It is equally bizarre for Casino Club to state that there is a "legal case" in process when there is no more than a solicitor's letter indicating that such a thing may occur at some future date.

Casino Club claims "false address" for the player

Also bizarre is the claim on the part of Casino Club that the player supplied them with a "false address". This remarkable allegation was passed on second hand by Bryan "Casinomeister" Bailey.

And he was pretty insistent about it:

From what I gather, he has given a false address so it's difficult to send him the legal papers.

The guy has not given the casino a legit address, and has not contacted their lawyers via email.

The player won't give them an address to send the legal docs to, and he won't contact the lawyers via email.

The player has been given the lawyer's email address, but refuses to contact them.

I don't think they ever got a real address from this guy.

For all Bailey's insistence, this allegation is actually technically impossible on several proven levels:

Upon depositing at a Boss Media casino, you are sent PIN number and security code to your home address. The last time I used Boss Media, the security code was required to deposit sums greater than (if I recall correctly) $500, and also to withdraw.

The reason for this is to ensure that the address you provide is legitimate, which actually exists and you haven't stolen someone's identity.

The player in this case received, as normal, his security code to his home address - he effectively confirmed this in his initial post at the German forum:

Can you ask please ask on what grounds they closed my account? I can give you the PIN number.

He confirmed receipt of the security code and PIN number when I asked for clarification:

The PIN number and security-code only via mail to my home address.

Additionally, the player was also required to provide some utility bills as proof of address, which would have been required to process his previous withdrawals. The casino confirmed receipt of these documents to the player, and since Casino Club mentioned those previous withdrawals in their statement above, they have essentially confirmed receipt of these address verification documents themselves publically, as he could not have received withdrawals without having sent them.


1) The player received his security code and PIN to his registered address, and used those numbers as required for his transactions.

2) He further corroborated his address with household utility documents, receipt of which Casino Club has confirmed.

Yet Casino Club claims, in spite of the proof to the contrary, that the player's address is "illegitimate" and "not real".

This can only be a lie.

Is this what really happened?

The following is my opinion of the truth of the matter; I believe it accounts for all the absurd allegations and inconsistent, illogical and bizzare "legal" claims and misrepresentations. I also believe it sets a dangerous precedent for the online gambler:

• Player wins a lot of money at Casino Club.

• The casino cites a load of unsubstantiatable nonsense as justification for not paying - retrospective allegations of "long-term abuse", use of "prediction software", suggestions of a secondary "account with female contact data". However, none of this is likely to stick, so...

• The casino then pays a lawyer to send a letter to the player, a letter which will include all the above, plus some suggestions regarding the casino's right to take further action against the player - irrespective of the fact that it is the casino that has taken the player's money.

• The casino then claims that the letter, with the suggestions of subsequent possible legal action, represents a "legal case", and as such everything is frozen until the "case" is concluded.

• Since there is no actual case, it can never be concluded. You cannot conclude that which does not exist.

• The casino therefore "freezes" the money forever, ie. keeps it.

This is a very dangerous precedent to be setting: it's a generally accepted fact that genuine legal proceedings put things on hold and stifle public comment. As such, in order to not pay out on a big win, a casino can pay a lawyer a few euros to write a letter, claim that this legal communication represents a "court case", and that its hands are therefore tied until the conclusion of the "legal procedure", which will never happen because it doesn't exist.

A solicitor's letter must not now become an excuse for a casino to conveniently renege on a large payment.

The progressive jackpot doesn't belong to the casino

The €167,500 jackpot in question does not belong to Casino Club. This is a progressive jackpot, fed by players' wagers, and it ALWAYS belongs to the players: either to the player in question, "Mike64", or the game it came from. Casino Club must either pay it to the player who hit it, or return it to the jackpot pool for other players to continue chasing.

But they are not going to do this, because there is a "legal case pending".

And since the "legal case" in question does not appear to exist beyond a solicitor's letter, it will never be anything other than "pending".

And as such, Casino Club will keep the money.

Total confiscated funds include the deposits of €25,000

Of course, the €167,500 jackpot is not the only money that Casino Club is withholding.

Prior to hitting the jackpot, the player deposited €25,000 into his account, receiving bonus money of €5000.

That €25,000 deposit belongs exclusively to the player. The winnings may be under discussion, as may be the €5000 bonus, but the money the player deposited belongs to him.

It came out of the player's online wallet / bank account.

It went into the player's Casino Club account.

It belongs to the player alone.

Casino Club has stolen this money.

So, in summary:

• Casino Club has stolen deposits to the sum of €25,000.

• It is also withholding jackpot winnings totalling €167,500.

• Casino Club has essentially accused their own software, provided by Boss Media, of being non-random.

And let's not forget: Casino Club is a Casinomeister accredited casino

Oh dear.

Page top

6 Previous Comments

it's a pity the player didn't do anything about getting paid for six months, otherwise this shit would be stuck rather firmer on Casino Club than it is. As it is, there are certainly doubts, but as you say it sounds like they've got zero that would stand up in court.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:48 am  

I just can not imagine with strong your blog greatly that helped me. Thank you “That is the saving grace of humor. If you fail no one is laughing at you.” - A. Whitney Brown

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:49 pm  

I am totally delighted with strong your blog greatly that warned me. God bless you “You know you are getting old when the candles cost more than the cake.” - Bob Hope

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:04 am  

Very nice to read such "old" posts!

This topic, like the little that you can see, they feel accompanied us at the beginning

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:55 pm  

It was remiss of me not to update here:

Rather bizzarely, Casino Club did end up returning the jackpot to the Jacks Or Better machine it came from, and it was hit fairly quickly.

This doesn't change the fact that it was withheld from the player who originally hit it, and that Casino Club's motives in so doing were not clearly watertight. However, they have now at least righted the situation from the point of view of the player body as a whole, though that won't be much comfort to the original player.

By Blogger 100% Gambler, at 9:37 pm  

level-headed forum a plight of dope

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:13 pm  

Post a Comment

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Casino Club steals eight thousand euros, then gives it back

Casino Club is an online casino powered by Boss Media software, and licensed in Malta by (oh, happy day) the Lotteries And Gaming Authority, about which I have written at length for Midas Oracle - see my LGA: the non-regulating regulator article.

Casino Club is one of the operations of Gaming VC, a company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

It is also a Casinomeister accredited casino.

In November 2008, a blackjack player won €8,000 at Casino Club. The casino immediately closed his account, accused him of using an "automated software programme" and confiscated his money.

The player reported his experience at a German roulette forum, and went on to complain at Casinomeister - see the Casino Club theft of €8000 discussion thread.

The response of Bryan "Casinomeister" Bailey was to support the casino, accuse the player of fraud, bar him from the forum and issue a threat to other players:

For those of you using bots at Casino Club, you're getting caught out and you are wasting Max's time with bogus PABs. I'd appreciate it if you'd all go take a hike and pull your crap with somebody else.

BS like this makes me tend to consider shutting down the PAB section for newbies. It's been done before - I'll do it again.

Fighting talk.

As such, we can assume that Bailey had some strong evidence against this player.

So what was the evidence?

Casino Club posted the player's play logs at his request - see the Casino Club response page at the roulette forum. They included the following comment:

Casino Club considers it inhuman to play for more than six hours with only three breaks of two minutes each. The total game play has a length of more than six hours. This case has also been investigated and concluded by Casinomeister.

The total playing time was actually five and a half hours, with a few two-minute breaks along the way. The length of these breaks would be consistent with visits to the toilet. The bet sizes ranged between €5 and €500.

Apparently, both Casino Club and Casinomeister consider this "inhuman", and therefore only possible with an "autoclick" software programme.

This is a patently absurd contention, and indicative of people who have little to no knowledge or experience of the tendencies of gamblers or the nature of gambling. Although a controlled player myself, I have sat at a blackjack table for five hours on occasions. Many people have admitted to gambling sessions lasting days on end, with no more than the necessary toilet breaks.

This is "inhuman behaviour", according to the uninformed and ignorant Casino Club, and supported by Casinomeister.

Additionally, autoclick programmes do not adjust betsize, they simply repeat the same movement over and over. Even if such a programme were ever developed, the suggestion that it might be used to select bet sizes of up to €500 units is ridiculous. Who would ever trust a machine with so much money?

That such volatile, unpredictable and high-risking play could be evidence of the use of an autoclick software programme is utterly nonsensical.

Having presented no evidence of bot play or anything remotely fraudulent, Casino Club decided to pay the player, after two weeks of being the subject of derisive comment after derisive comment - see the Casinomeister payment announcement post.

This in itself was a breathtakingly illogical and improbable announcement:

Casino Club is still convinced that the gaming session under scrutiny involved usage of a bot

And yet they paid. Casino Club considers itself to have been the subject of behaviour that infringed their terms and conditions, and yet they paid the player they considered had "cheated" them. Why in the world would they do this?

Can we make any sense of this comedic performance played out by Casino Club and Casinomeister? I think so. This, I think, is the correct event chronology:

• An extremely volatile blackjack player got lucky and won €8000. Unfortunately for him, his winning streak occured at Casino Club. Ah well; you win some, you lose some.

• Casino Club was not keen to pay this win, but since this was a normal gambling session on the part of a customer whose account was legitimate in every sense, they would have to push the boat out, invoke an improbable, unsubstantiatable excuse and hope they could get away with it.

• The excuse they chose was "bot use". Although there was no evidence of this, although the player's game logs demonstrated completely normal gambling activity, it was the best they could come up with.

• When the player complained to Bryan "Casinomeister" Bailey, Bailey sided with the casino. This was irrespective of the fact that there was no apparent evidence of anything other than normal play.

• There was general uproar and derision that such an obvious gambler could be accused in such an absurd way.

• In the end, there was nothing left to do for all the parties involved other than give up on a losing battle, pay the player and look utterly morally bankrupt.

To compound the circus act one step further, after Casino Club had paid the debt the Casinomeister "complaints co-moderator", Max Drayman, came out with the following idiotic remark, demonstrating his own monumental ignorance of gambling:

...a while back I handled a PAB where bot use was claimed and the proof given was a trace where the player was "playing" at about 500 hands per hour (sustained). The casino claimed that was sufficient proof that a bot was in use and I agreed with them one hundred percent. Would anybody here claim otherwise? I seriously doubt it. And so, voila!, we have a case where the play records and the conclusions drawn from them were pretty much beyond question.

Five hundred hands per hour is about eight hands per minute.

When I used to play blackjack on Realtimegaming software, I would play at speeds of up to eighteen hands per minute, about one hand every 3.5 seconds.

Playing extremely slowly, I would possibly tick along at eight to ten hands per minute.

I wonder how the uniquely ignorant Mr. Drayman would classify this? Would he consider me to be an extra terrestrial, endowed with inhuman gifts of gambling magnificence?

What a shameful episode. And what utter incompetence and ignorance demonstrated by the online gambling industry.

To conclude, Casinomeister Bryan Bailey summed things up quite nicely:

Max is under no obligation to state exactly what we deem as "exact" proof of bot play. You either trust us, or you don't - it's as simple as that.

As such, the uniquely ignorant Mr. Drayman, he of "five hundred hands per hour is proof of non-human play" fame, has an exact idea of what constitutes bot play.

But it is apparently not the above, it is something else.

And it cannot be disclosed.

And you can choose to trust him or not.

Thanks, Bryan. I think I know which option I'll be signing up to.

I highly recommend that noone play at Casino Club.

6 Previous Comments

Casinomeister is a joke. It is patently obvious from his forum posts that he really has no clue about gambling and his knowledge of casinos is limited to Microgaming slots. His latest appointment of Max "I dont know what Im talking about" Drayman is another backward step for the world of fairness in casino player support.

What a shameful industry this is when our only hope for justice and fair play is Bryan and Max.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:52 pm  

There are others. They are just relatively unknown to players at large.

There is the relatively new Gambling Industry Association. I did an write up last year - see my GIA article. You can post about issues in the complaints forum.

These are people I basically trust and who have the right connections. The concept is way superior to anything Casinomeister has ever offered. I wish it would take off.

So it's not all doom and gloom, even if it looks it when we see these kind of disgraces played out in public.

By Blogger 100% Gambler, at 2:19 pm  

Can the viagra spam hound who keeps submitting comments for approval on this article please give it a rest?

You're comments are never seeing the light of day (they go straight into my spam folder by default, which I periodically empty), but still you continue to submit them. Are you a bit thick? Do you not check at any point to see if your posts are actually appearing?

By Blogger 100% Gambler, at 3:16 am  

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By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:16 am  

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