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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Full Tilt Poker license suspended


Full Tilt Poker has seen its year go from bad to worse. In April, its domain name was seized by the US authorities, along with those of three other major US-facing poker operators - see my Poker domains seized article.


Now, Full Tilt seems to have fallen foul of its licensing jurisdiction. Two days ago, on June 29th 2011, The Alderney Gambling Commissin issued a statement to the effect that Full Tilt could no longer operate:


In the matters of:-

VANTAGE LIMITED
OXALIC LIMITED
FILCO LIMITED
And
ORINIC LIMITED

Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) has today issued Hearing Notices under Regulation 46 of the Alderney eGambling Regulations, 2009 to the above named companies who collectively trade as FULL TILT POKER.

In addition, AGCC has issued Suspension Notices under Regulation 47 of the Alderney eGambling Regulations, 2009 to the above named companies requiring them to immediately suspend operations.

The above named companies must, until the Suspension Notices are cancelled or the Commissioners of AGCC have reached a determination at the conclusion of the hearing convened in accordance with Regulation 46 of the Alderney eGambling Regulations, 2009 cease to exercise their eGambling licenses, which means that these licensees must from today cease to:-

 •Register new customers;
 •Accept deposits from existing customers;
 •Allow existing customers to withdraw funds that are held in their accounts; and
 •Permit customers to participate in any form of poker game play or gambling transaction.

The Alderney Gambling Control Commission will hear the matters contained in the Hearing Notices at a Regulatory Hearing which will commence at 10.00am on Tuesday 26th July, 2011 at the Victoria Park Plaza Hotel, 239 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 1EQ. In the event that there is a change to these details this notice will be amended. In the interim period, AGCC can be contacted by using the following email address: info@agcc.gg

André Wilsenach (Executive Director)
Alderney Gambling Control Commission
Alderney, Channel Islands
29th June, 2011



In their Alderney suspends Full Tilt's operating licence article, eGaming Review threw some light on the reasons behind the suspension of the operating license:


The AGCC said in a statement this morning:

"The decision to suspend these licenses follows a special investigation prompted by the indictments unsealed by US Attorney General's Office in the Southern District of New York on 15th April 2011, during which grounds were found to indicate that these licensees and their business associates were operating contrary to Alderney legislation."



So it would appear that some or all of the charges that the US DOJ used to seize Full Tilt's domain have relevance to Alderney. To my mind, the most likely candidate from the DOJ list is the fraud charge, but Full Tilt's failure to remit player funds in timely manner since the seizure may also be a factor.


A little more information, if nothing particularly substantive, came out in Forbes's Full Tilt's Alderney gambling licenses suspended article:



The executive director of the Alderney Gambling Control Commission says he decided to suspend five egambling licenses of Full Tilt Poker because of "several issues" that arose as part of a special investigation.

"In our view it's serious," Andre Wilsenach, the executive director of the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, said in a few guarded comments, explaining his decision to suspend the licenses prior to a hearing scheduled on July 26. "The law allows me if I think it's sufficiently serious and in the public interest that I can suspend it today until such time that we have a hearing."

"We obviously got grounds to believe that our licensee has acted not in accordance with the law," said Wilsenach, adding that Full Tilt has been fully cooperating with the special investigation.



For the majority of the online discussion about this issue, see the Alderney suspends FTP license thread at 2+2 Poker. Although the vast majority of the posts are frustrated players offering little useful input, for a little off-topic amusement I thought this post was worth preserving for posterity:



06-29-2011, 07:38 PM

People don't be mad.

Point of life is to be happy, this a bad time but will get better.

Make the best plans you can and get through best you can. Go do free stuff that makes you happy, play games you own or grind tv shows, drink cheaper drinks.

Be happy through the bad times and we cruising.

Come on join me, winning.



Says it all, really.



0 Previous Comments


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Monday, June 27, 2011

Twitter


Mindful of the general hysteria over this perfunctory social media site, I decided to drag myself, kicking and screaming, into it. You can follow me, if you're so inclined, at my HPGambler tag / hash tag or whatever it's called.

Excuse the grudging tone, but given the general length of my articles I struggle to breathe in, much less type, in 140 characters or less.



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Betfair Happy Hour: at least one legal challenge now seems successfully concluded


Since the mass confiscation of winnings of the Betfair Happy Hour fiasco, there's been a lot of talk of legal challenges but not, it appeared, much actual action. That appears to have changed. One player, owed approximately £4000, has taken the bull by the horns and, it seems, won.


He posted his interest in legal action in his Taking Betfair to court thread at The Gambling Times forum several months ago:


Well I think the time has come to start legal proceedings against Betfair for removing money from my (our) exchange accounts without justification or explanation.

Perhaps we could use this thread to discuss the way forward, without putting to much detail in that would assist Betfair in the event of the case actually making it to court.



He went so far as to get a court date this month, June 2011. He then posted the following rather cryptic update in another thread:


Well I have had an interesting weekend that has resulted in me giving up casinos and betting!

I have withdrawn all of my money from the exchanges, book and casinos.

I have asked for membership to be removed from various forums - including this one.

I must thank you all for many years of my profitable hobby, but I now have to move on to new and better things with my life.

Oh, some of you may have an ongoing interest in one particular thread I started. All I can comment on that subject is do not give up. And for those that have not got round to starting, then get your bloody claim in!



Reading between the lines, it's clear that the outcome was favourable to him. Whether or not it actually ended up in court isn't clear, but I'd suspected from the start that Betfair would offer a settlement, and I'm confident that this is what happened. The settlement would also have been tied up in a non-disclosure agreement, which would explain the cryptic wording of the update.


Betfair had no option on this. While the stock in trade excuse about players "abusing the spirit of the bonus" works well in casino land to justify confiscation of players' funds, it quickly falls apart in the real world because it has no validity - the "abuse" in question is invariably a consequence of casino incompetence and not player wrongdoing, and no neutral party would ever see it otherwise. The only remaining question is how far this will go, but it seems certain that it'll now snowball onwards with more and more players putting in legal challenges, confident in a successful outcome after the conclusion of this test case.


However, it's also pretty certain that all settlements will be bound up in a non-disclosure agreement, so it's unlikely we'll ever know the full story.


Update August 2011: We do now know for a fact that the outcome of this matter was exactly as I hypothesised above. This from the Betfair thread at the SBR forum:


I can confirm that a player that sued Betfair collected his happy hour winnings, but I cannot share any details. The settlement agreement between Betfair and the player prohibited the player from publicly sharing any terms of the settlement. I think every player that sued Betfair (or will sue Betfair) in the UK would win.

I saw Betfair's pleadings, and they were a joke. As in the emails they sent to players, they rely soley on "suspicious wagering patterns". If a player is betting a fixed percentage of their bankroll (as a majority of them did on this promotion), how is that "suspicious"? Smart, yes. Suspicious, only if you are a mathematically challenged casino manager.



So Betfair, subject to a legal challenge, settled this debt with the player without going to court, whilst binding him to a non-disclosue agreement in an attempt to prevent the matter from becoming public knowledge.



2 Previous Comments


I see a betfair banner on your main page... so you promote the thieves huh?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:05 pm  


Yes.

Betfair is the best casino / sportsbook on the internet in terms of player odds. If you can legally play there and want the best odds available, you cannot avoid them. You also need to know everything that has go on so as to make informed judgements, hence you will find all matters regarding disreputable behaviour at Betfair over these past twelve months fully documented.

But I will never tell players to not patronise the operation which offers such a quality product, as it would be counter productive - if you don't know about them, you cannot benefit. Just make sure you understand the potential risks involved, if such there are.

By Blogger 100% Gambler, at 3:11 pm  


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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Casino Web Scripts: paying players because the software is random is unfair to the casino


In my second update on the Casino Web Scripts blackjack game I highlighted the continuing anomalies in this uniquely wretched piece of software design, and the dangers therein for any unsuspecting players who chance upon it.

That is not the end of the story for Casino Web Scripts, however.


Go to the products page and you'll find the following claim:


You will have full control over your casino (control payout percentage, randomness chance and more).



"Control over randomness"?

Randomness cannot be controlled by definition, being random.


You can access a demonstration of the admin section of the software via the "view admin" button on that page - just type in the captcha code numbers. If you then click on "casino settings" and "casino payout / win rate", you come to a screen where you can actually set all the payout percentages. The current settings look like this:


Casino Bank and WIN %

Casino Bank (How much money the casino has for payments): £10

*Play For Real Percent 80% (play for money winning chances percentage)

*Play For Fun Percent 30% (play for fun winning chances percentage)

**Payout Percent: 20%

***JACKPOT Increase Percent: 0.0010%

Player to player money transfer fee: 1%

*RANDOMNESS PERCENT - This feature will allow you to decide the chances of players to win.

**Payout% : influences the increase of Casino Bank. If Payout Percent is 75%, and user bets 400$, then 25%(100$) will go to Casino Proffit and 75%(300$) will go to casino bank and will be put at stake for the players to win.

***Represents how much % from a bet goes to JACKPOT balance(Example if set to 0.01% and player bets 100$ on SWEET LOVE SLOTS, then the jackpot of that game will increase by 0.01$)



This software is clearly non-random but configurable by the client, simply by entering a number between 0 and 100 into the relevent boxes, to return whatever payout percentage is considered desirable.


When this was highlighted at the Casinolisting forum, a poster showed up with an attempted defence of this practice:


From my point of view a software that lets you control everything is the best option (at least for me...

I dont want to end up having to pay my players money that I dont have just because all the odds had to be fair.



After running an IP check it became apparent that this individal was posting from the same location as the casino sales team - a casino that considers it acceptable to cheat its players by offering non-random software, on the basis that offering fair odds would cause a low-funded casino to run out of money.

What an extraordinarily unethical way to run a business.

When challenged, the Casino Web Scripts employee reacted with ruffled feathers:


You should continue to live in your fantasy casino world where all the casinos are fair!



The "fantasy casino" this character describes is in fact the norm - the vast majority of casinos use random number generators that allow the games to replicate exactly their physical counterparts. Casinos and software providers that do not are disreputable rogues.


With games copied from the major providers, buggy software and, now, configurable payout percentages, Casino Web Scripts looks set fair to inhabit the disreputable rogue list for a long time to come.



4 Previous Comments


What games did they copy from major providers and what bugs does their software have ?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:08 pm  


Arent they allowed to have games like BlackJack,Slots,Poker ? Is there a law that forbids this ? Im also curious about the bugs you talk about ...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:11 pm  


I am not sure from where you got the data, i have already used their website and it looks genuine to me. Why not you provide some evidence before blaming to someone.

By Anonymous Randy, at 4:17 pm  


I received a communication from the company recently, including this request:

"Many things have changed in the last year in our company, after that article came out. We have improved our services and we would like to erase the bad articles from past, as they no longer reflect the reality."

I'll take them at their word. The articles, as factually accurate, will remain.

By Blogger 100% Gambler, at 2:29 pm  


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Sunday, June 05, 2011

32Red bonus marketing falls below acceptable standard


32Red is currently advertising a £32 promotion on its homepage:


32Red bonus



The Super Swans have made it to the Premier League! Following their fantastic result in the play-off final 32Red Casino is celebrating by giving you a SWAN-TASTIC 100% BONUS! Simply deposit 32 chips or more between 31st May and 7th June and we’ll give you 32 FREE CHIPS! CLICK HERE to find out more.



This is actually for selected recipients only, and in 32Red's usual clear style the fact is stated at the top of the terms and conditions:


1. The Premier League Celebrations Bonus is only available to real money players invited by email.



If you're on the bonus list you'll receive an email invitation. If you're not entitled, you'll hear nothing. So why is it advertised on the casino homepage? No purpose is served, as all relevant participatory information will come via email.


The only conceivable reason can be to encourage deposits on the part of players who see the homepage advert and make a deposit before reading the terms. There is absolutely no other possible use. And while there is no obligation on the part of the player, having been told that the bonus is not available to him, to do anything with his deposit beyond cashing out without playing, it seems likely that a gambler will go ahead and play anyway. And, typically, lose.


At least one player has been inconvenienced as a result of this, as noted in the 32Red - annoyed thread at Casinomeister.


32Red is the best casino on the internet, and my number one recommendation. The people behind it should not resort to this kind of marketing gimmick, and they get a rare black mark from me as a result.



3 Previous Comments


32 Red Casino is a Piece of Shit Scumbag one!.
They rig the games to cheat Palayers and stealing Players' depopsits+Winnings!.
32 Red Casino ''you are a bunch of thieves scumbags''.
you make me sick.
I was cheated and stolen probably roughly £3,000 by these Scumbags,rigging the Roulette Game.
They can manipulate the Microgaming Software as their wish.
Absolutelly disgusting.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:25 am  


Coincidentally enough, I've been thinking something rather similar to this in recent weeks in terms of the software.

I'll be doing a writeup soon.

By Blogger 100% Gambler, at 7:25 pm  


I played with this casino and actually had an apology from one of the online helpers there because the payouts weren't even at 60%
Their games are clearly rigged and I would recommend all to stay away from this crooked empire. Honestly sour grapes aside you're not even given a chance. Aweful.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:21 am  


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