UltimateBet wraps investigation of unfair play

The Money
UltimateBet: Serious about protecting its players.

Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG, owners of UltimateBet, announced on Thursday the results of its investigation into unfair play on the poker site.

Tokwiro, which recently suffered through the Absolute Poker cheating scandal as well, has been investigating allegations of unfair play on UltimateBet triggered by concerns about an account named NioNio.

"Tokwiro has worked diligently in cooperation with its regulatory body, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, and with independent third-party experts to conduct a thorough investigation that included a comprehensive review of hand histories and game data, thorough analyses of software and network security, and audits of its security practices and procedures," said Tokwiro in a press release.

According to Tokwiro, the investigation concluded that certain player accounts at UltimateBet did have an unfair advantage and were targeting the highest-limit games on the site.

"The fraudulent activity was enabled by unauthorized software code that allowed the perpetrators to obtain hole-card information during live play," Tokwiro said.

The vulnerability was brought to the attention of Tokwiro in February 2008, and it was found to have existed prior to UltimateBet's acquisition by Tokwiro in October 2006.

"Our investigation has confirmed the code was part of a legacy auditing system that was manipulated by the perpetrators," Tokwiro said.

The company also found that the individuals responsible for the breach of security had worked for the previous ownership of UltimateBet before the company was sold to Tokwiro in 2006.

Gaming Associates, an independent auditor hired by the Kahnawake for the investigation, has confirmed that the software code that provided the unfair advantage has now been permanently removed from UltimateBet's system.

Tokwiro said it is taking full responsibility for the situation and will immediately begin refunding UltimateBet customers for any losses that were incurred as a result of the unfair play.

"We would like to thank our customers for their patience, loyalty and support, as well as for their understanding that we are doing everything we can to correct this situation," Tokwiro said.

"The staff and management of UltimateBet are fully committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our players, and we want to assure customers of our unwavering resolve to monitor site security with every resource at our disposal."

Throughout the investigation into the unfair play, Tokwiro's priorities have been to permanently remove the ability to engage in unfair play, to complete its investigation and to come to a full understanding of what happened, refund the affected customers and implement measures to prevent future incidents.

The suspicion of unfair play was first reported to UltimateBet in January. According to Tokwiro, UltimateBet contacted the Kahnawake Gaming Commission within 24 hours to provide formal notice that the online poker site had initiated an investigation into the matter.

While the matter was being investigated, NioNio and related accounts were suspended.

Preliminary findings in February showed that the suspect accounts had abnormally high winning statistics, and after talking with the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, a third-party gaming expert was brought in for further analysis.

Also in February, the investigators were able to confirm that the owners of the suspect accounts were associated with individuals who had worked for UltimateBet at one time. Then the unauthorized code allowing players to see hole-card information during live play was discovered.

The code was immediately removed and six account holders using the following screen names were confirmed to have participated in the scheme: NioNio, Sleepless, NoPaddles, nvtease, flatbroke33, ilike2win, UtakeIt2, FlipFlop2, erick456, WhackMe44, RockStarLA, stoned2nite, monizzle, FireNTexas, HeadKase01, LetsPatttty, NYMobser and WhoWhereWhen.

Gaming Associates has since verified that the software code enabling the unfair play has been removed from UltimateBet. Customers affected by this incident have been identified as well and plans for reimbursing them have been made.

As a result of the breach, is establishing a state-of-the-art software security center that will consolidate and greatly enhance existing security capabilities.

Gaming mathematicians, poker professionals and security software developers have all contributed to the specifications for the new security center, which in its first release will focus solely on the immediate detection of abnormal winnings.

UltimateBet has also established a new, specialized poker security team dedicated to fraud prevention at the site, and customers will no longer be permitted to change account names unless they have suffered abuse in chat rooms.

Along with reimbursing players affected by the cheating scam, Tokwiro is pursuing its legal options in regard to this incident.

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