Absolute Poker is one step closer to honor its outstanding debts to people affected in the 2007 scandal, GCG has revealed.
Costa Rica-based gambling operator Absolute Poker did make headlines in 2007 when the company was suspected of using a “master account” to defeat users en masse across tournaments, and subsequently proved guilty.
An investigation was launched much later, with hundreds of affected players turning to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to seek assistance. DoJ agreed to aid the affected parties with the help of Garden City Group (GCG) LLC, a company specializing in providing legal services, including collecting debt.
Absolute Poker Cheating the Game
It didn’t take long for Absolute Poker to admit that the existence of a “master account” by the name of “User 321” was a fact. However, the company refused to admit that this was the intentional doing of insiders. Further investigations gave very serious reason to doubt such statements, though.
The display name that had been suspected of stirring all the trouble was a calling himself the “Potripper” who was allegedly assisted by an observer that could see the hole cards of all participants at the table.
As a result of leaked information, users saw that Potripper was trailed across tables by the same observer, with both parties operating from Costa Rica. The IPs could be located after the leaked documents were obtained by another user.
Since the scandal erupted, a lot has changed in the United States. Poker was temporarily killed in 2011 with Senator Jon Kyl passing a bill designed to dismantle it.
Players get Paid
Today, however, GCG has announced along with DoJ that the 500-odd players whose outstanding payments haven’t been honored will finally receive them. In total, over $130,000 are still owed to the aforementioned individuals.
The pending payment is dwarfed by the amount disbursed in August 2017, when the company paid over $33 million to offset 7,400 players who had had their account’s funds locked for over a decade. In addition, $3.7 million were then allocated to 4,600 more customers who had been part of the class-action lawsuit.
The payments have been done via wire transfers for citizens of the United States and by using a foreign currency wires for those that are no longer, or never have been, residents of the United States. Though no official statistics are actually available, some estimate that north of $60 million were eventually stuck in the coffers of Absolute Poker at the time when the company went belly up amid the scandal.
Circling back to the scandal itself, it wasn’t until May 2008 that Ultimate Bet, the affiliated partner of Absolute Poker, made an official statement detailing the scams that had bene taking place for almost two years continually throughout March 2006 and December 2007.
If matters were brought to resolve, it wasn’t entirely the involvement of DoJ and the GCG, but also the interest of Kahnawake Gaming Commission to investigate matters. However, the Kahnawake regulatory body unearthed much more unpalatable truths, citing that the actual scope of the cheating had been much greater and the process had been going since 2004, shortly after the establishment of the company in 2003.
As a result, Ultimate Bet was fined $1.5 million. But despite the fine, which was measly by any standards, investigators commented that people had been cheated out of millions of dollars.
The Absolute Poker scandal is one of the largest in the offshore poker industry that may serve as a warning to others.