Saturday, August 21, 2010

Canadian Provinces Treadding Tricky Online Poker Cheat-Waters by Regulating Online Poker!

Canada online poker cheating is a real risk!

source: CBS News Canada

Online gambling experts are warning provinces to brace themselves for hackers, cheats and criminal gangs that target gaming sites. The warning comes after British Columbia launched its online gambling site, a venture that was marred by a series of glitches. The province, the first to launch an internet casino operation, abruptly shut down operations mid-July, just hours after the launch, due to "load issues."

BC Lottery Corporation had more unanticipated technical glitches Thursday, but after hours of delays, they were up and running again early Friday morning. The site offers players blackjack, video poker and slots among other games.

B.C.'s website offers blackjack, video poker and slots, among other games.
As a result, BCLC continues to investigate the cause of what it calls "data crossover" that allowed users unauthorized access to 134 player accounts.

"BCLC's investigative report will hopefully be made public as to what went wrong," said criminologist John McMullan of St. Mary's University in Halifax. "I'd like to know what were the performance issues that were related to the vulnerabilities surrounding the software related to this launch."

BCLC spokesperson Seamus Gordon insisted that currently in B.C. officials have "no evidence that there was technical sabotage or hacking" aimed at the provincial site. "This was a server defect," Gordon said of the lottery's recent problems.

New to online gambling

McMullan and other gambling watchdogs fear governments new to the online gambling business stand to be ripped off by criminal gangs that are far more technologically savvy and advanced.

While B.C. is currently the only province with an online casino site, Quebec and Ontario have plans for online gambling, and Nova Scotia has expressed interest in the possibility. "I think it's a risk," McMullan said. "Provincial government should not think they are going to some way or the other create a crime-free site. To be honest, they're going to have the same kinds of issues (as existing private sites). "They are going to have to protect their players, they are going to have good technologies and good skilled security people who are able to detect these sorts of problems and filter them out before they happen," he added.

"It is a gamble ... It is a gamble in many ways, I think."

McMullan and Aunshul Rege, of the school of criminal justice at Rutgers University in New Jersey, have published a study in the Journal of Gambling Issues detailing how criminals collude, cheat and use sophisticated computer plots to shut down gaming sites altogether.

"Attacks have occurred quite frequently in all kinds of jurisdictions," McMullan said, citing several cases where cyber criminals have commandeered hundreds of computers to launch "D-DOS attacks" (Distributed Denial of Service) against gambling sites. The attack basically herds all of these computers and directs a whole bunch of requests at the site, so the site actually crawls to a stop or is taken down because it can't manage all of the requests that are coming at it. It's to show a great deal of awe to the gambling provider and then to extort ransom monies from them. Or, D-DOS attacks can be much more subtle, used as it were to sabotage or to slow down sites to gradually make that site uncompetitive."

Cheaters are well-versed

McMullan has also documented scores of cases where cheaters have used special software, readily available online, to help them play, and calculate odds against unsuspecting competitors at online gambling sites.

"They use the technology usually on autopilot to play as a stand-in for them," said McMullan, explaining there's millions to be made with the computer-assisted programs. There are all kinds of packages out there that claim to be able to allow you to play against other players, to read and understand and compete against all kinds of hands and plays that might appear at a poker table, and it gives them an advantage because they have factored all that information into an artificial intelligence program."

BCLC notes that its website does not include any games where players play directly against other players, which eliminates the risk of collaboration. Cheats and online criminals are the heart of a recent scandal at one of the world's biggest online gambling sites, The company recently paid players close to $2 million US after finding a band of players from China were going online and colluding to fix games of Texas hold 'em poker.

"The allegation is that several players were playing together kind of as a team, which is against the rules," said Aaron Todd, a reporter with the online industry publication Casino City News. "Obviously, if you know what other players in the game are holding, or if you're able to manipulate who's got chip stacks, you have a tremendous advantage in these tournaments," he added. "We simply know they were in China, but we don't really know [more], outside of what their usernames were."

Todd praised PokerStars for reviewing its player data, tracing the problem and refunding the millions to players. He said there's a lesson in these kinds of cheating cases for jurisdictions looking to launch government-run online sites.

"I think that government regulation on the whole would be good because you'd then be able to go after people taking these actions," said Todd, noting that private sites are powerless to prosecute cheaters who are often anonymous and untouchable given they are offshore.

In order to play on the B.C. casino site, a person must be 19 or older and a resident of the province. Todd, like others, still fear governments, who are in the business of running traditional casinos and conventional card games, don't have the technical expertise and savvy to keep ahead of sophisticated rings of international cyber criminals.

PokerStars Responds To Chinese Collusion Ring Scandal

Source: Poker News Daily

Earlier this week, Poker News Daily reported on the allegations of a cheating scandal on the site regarding its “Double or Nothing” (DoN) sit and gos. At the time, the world’s largest site had not responded to Poker News Daily’s requests to answer some questions on the issue. After the story was posted, however, PokerStars quickly answered our questions via

In the original story, we mentioned a thread on the popular poker forum Two Plus Two that addressed the issue in excellent depth. A player using the name “Jane0123” stated that their account had been closed due to alleged collusion (through the use of the “whipsaw” technique) with a ring of players from China in the month of January. The thread went on to detail how, over a tw0-month span earlier this summer, PokerStars handled the case and how some players were upset over the situation.

Late Wednesday evening, a member of the Game Security team by the name of “Jackson” answered six questions posed by Poker News Daily regarding the ongoing issue. While the spokesperson did not answer how long the ring had been in operation, Jackson reported that PokerStars first discovered the activity of the ring soon after the reports in the original January Two Plus Two thread (a supplemental condensed version of the case was started in July) began. “PokerStars discovered the illicit activity in early February 2010,” Jackson stated in the e-mail. “Whilst conducting our review during this period, accounts associated with this situation were closed.”

The Two Plus Two thread stated that the ring colluded on the higher level DoN sit and gos, but PokerStars says they found evidence that the cheating went on over a much larger scale. “The cheaters were active across many stakes, some as low as our $10 and $20 DoNs,” the PokerStars spokesman reported. “However, the vast majority of the collusion occurred at both the $50 and $100 levels” (Writer’s note: These are the largest DoNs offered by PokerStars).

What was important to many involved in the situation – how many players were involved with the ring, how much money was taken, and what restitution has been made to affected players – was reported in detail by the PokerStars spokesman as possible. When it came to the issue of the number of players involved in the collusion ring, PokerStars says, “Overall, PokerStars closed 38 accounts in this case.” This is a lower number than the Two Plus Two thread states (46). Additionally, PokerStars did not provide any information as to the player identities.

The compensation issue for players affected does line up with the 2+2 report. PokerStars spokesman Jackson states, “The colluders net profit was $494,000, and despite this, PokerStars has paid a total of $2,100,000 in compensation.” Although not exact, these numbers are close to those stated by posters on the forum; however, no actual numbers of players who earned compensation – or how much – was discussed by PokerStars.

The most critical issue of game security is something that PokerStars feels they have now adequately addressed. “We agree that we have room for improvement in relation to collusion detection, and alongside our internal discussions about this particular individual case, we are also very actively discussing various techniques to improve our performance here,” Jackson stated in the e-mail. “We have various ideas about how we can improve our prevention and detection methods, but we’re always open to listening to feedback from players on the site.”

To combat the possibilities of further problems with the games, “PokerStars has introduced a new security function to prevent players from certain countries from playing in the same Double or Nothing events together,” Jackson reported. “This restriction will ensure that only one player from each of several countries (those countries involved in this restriction were not given) will be able to play in these events.” The PokerStars spokesman goes on to say, “We continue to monitor the games for collusion and we do feel that they are now adequately secure, otherwise we wouldn’t offer them. The investigation of the accounts involved, as well compensation to players, have since been finalized.”

Friday, August 20, 2010

Singapore Casino Roulette Cheat Gets Two Years in the Brig!

The so-called Tanzanian tourist who cheated the Marina Bay Sands roulette tables for more than a hundred grand has (up to now) also won first-prize at a Singapore prison: two years free room and board there.

It is still not clear if the roulette pastposter, named Kipuyo Lemburis Israel, is a professional casino cheat or simply a tourist who noticed how bad the Singaporean casino staff was and just took a couple of HUGE shots at them.

The thirty-five-year-old had been arrested with $125,000 in cash, most of it taken off the Marina Bay's roulette tables. His two-year sentence is the harshest yet handed out to casino cheats in Singapore...and there have been lots of them!

Senior District Judge See Kee Oon said as he passed sentence on the Tanzanian casino cheat, "I was of the view that substantial imprisonment terms were warranted in view of the gravity and scale of the cheating involved." He was irked by the premeditation and repetitveness of Israel's cheat moves.

All the casino's losses except for $4 have apparently been recovered.

My take: Was the $4 cab-fare to get out of town...or off the peninsula?