ultimatebetOne of the worst (or best) things about the internet is that things can never disappear once they appear online. Anyone who has even been in a scandal will testify to this fact. No matter how old the episode is, it is always possible to dredge up details of it online. What’s more is that the mentions of it keep popping up when people think that the story (and interest around it) has finally died down. The Ultimate Bet Online Poker scandal is the perfect illustration of this. Although the story first broke in 2005, it still keeps popping up repeatedly, with added information every time the story revives.

The online poker industry was taken aback when two sites belonging to the Cereus Poker Network were found to have been cheating on a big scale. The two sites in question, Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker, made use of a special software code that collected hole-card information of certain players in what was known as the “God Mode” so that their opponents could make winning moves. The total size of the scam eventually exceeded $50 million. The cheating scandal was very embarrassing for the industry since it highlighted exactly how vulnerable players were to cheating. The scandal also revealed just how little regulation there was in the industry.

The gaming sites of the Cereus Poker Network were licensed to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which regulates a number of land based casinos in Mohawk territory as well as more than 250 gambling sites offering online sportsbooks and poker. The regulatory body launched an investigation into the allegations of cheating only in October 2007.

It took 3 years, from the time it began using the unauthorised cheating software for Ultimate Bet to finally get rid it and it also began to issue refunds to the victims amounting to $22 million in all. The process of investigation also unearthed a lot of embarrassing information about how the industry was run. The company owning Ultimate Bet was fined $1.5 million and it was directed to change its operations in order to ensure that cheating could not be done.

The scandal got a new lease of life recently when a former representative of Ultimate Bet by the name of Annie Duke posted regarding the “God Mode” software on Facebook. She admitted to having used the software although she did not mention whether she cheated while on the mode. She went on to say that she was completely unaware that this was an illegal activity and that she would not have continued with the company if she had known about this.

Duke doesn’t have any connection with the poker site any longer and has relinquished all ownership of the site.
The gambling industry can hardly afford to have scandals such as this, especially since the lobby against online gambling is very vocal and powerful. After all, these scandals tend to come alive time and again, and the bad reputation that they create for the online site will never go away altogether.

When some of the US states are trying to legalise online casinos, a scandalous news like this certainly doesn’t favour them at all. There are quite a few legislators who are against this and these are the type of news that they look forward to and prove a point.

However, there are many others who favour online casinos. In fact, many Americans also tend to visit online casinos where they are allowed to gamble. Although there are very few at the moment since most of the US residents are not permitted to gamble at these sites because of the legality issues.

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