The Ultimate, Absolute Online Poker Scandal
It goes without saying that players who decide to take their online poker entertainment online do so with a certain element of trust in poker sites. After all, we are talking about virtual sites that require one to enter numbers and have funds removed from our credit cards, without seeing one live person in the process.
It is for that reason that poker players are advised over and over again to stick to online poker sites that are licensed by a recognized jurisdiction and are answerable to them if anything seems fishy.
It was with this in mind that thousands upon thousands of online poker players flocked to two of the major sites in the industry – Ultimate Bet and its sister site, Absolute Poker. Both sites, owned by Tokwiro Enterprises, were licensed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission – an independent territory within Canada that licenses a wide range of online casinos and poker sites around the world.
However, one of the biggest poker scandals in the history of online poker was soon to emerge.
Rumors began on poker forums such as 2 + 2 that things were blatantly ‘unkosher’ at Absolute Poker. Contributors on the message board started showing evidence that an in-house scandal that was cheating players out of millions of dollars in winnings was going on under everyone’s noses.
As rumors turned into hard evidence, it became clear that the Kahnawake Gaming Commission needed to react – and fast. Unfortunately, the Commission seemed to be dragging its heels over the action that was required against Absolute Poker, with matters complicated by the fact that the owner of Tokwiro Enterprises once acted as the Grand Chief of the Kahnawake Territory.
However, pressure mounted on the Commission to take the necessary steps and an investigation began after Absolute made an official statement that employee cheating had indeed taken place over a period of forty days. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission gave its report earlier this year and, among other things, fined Absolute $500,000.
Unfortunately, that was not the end of the saga. It soon came to light that a similar cheating scandal had taken place at Ultimate Bet, a sister site to Absolute, and also owned by Tokwiro Enterprises. The company issued a statement that cheating had taken place between March 2006 and December 2007, although later admitted that the scandal had began as far back as 2005.
In the past few months, the reputation of both Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet has been left in tatters. Some online gambling portals have blacklisted these sites and recommend that their players not risk their money there. Other players have simply upped and left on their own accord. In a bid to save their reputation, both sites merged on a joint network last month, known as CEREUS poker. While each site will maintain its individual brand, jackpots and other features will be linked. However, industry analysts believe that these poker sites went way beyond the acceptable and lied to their customers. As far as the world of online gambling goes, this is simply unforgivable.