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New Jersey Gambling Regulator Comments on Jim Ryan
Friday November 21,2014 : NEW JERSEY REGULATOR COMMENTS ON PALA C.E.O.
Investigation has thus far found no evidence of wrongdoing by Jim Ryan during his tenure as CEO at UltimateBet parent Excapsa.
The UltimateBet software cheating scandal several years ago has turned up again like the proverbial bad penny, triggering an investigation by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement into the involvement of former Excapsa CEO Jim Ryan.
Excapsa was the parent group for UltimateBet, and paid heavy fines and player compensation following the ‘god mode’ online poker debacle which cheated thousands of players out of millions of dollars .
The New Jersey involvement flows from the application by the California tribe-owned firm Pala Interactive for permission to operate in the New Jersey market; Ryan is now chief executive officer of the new venture and his past is under the spotlight.
This week the DGE took the unusual step of publishing the results of its investigation into Ryan's management history, noting that enquiries have thus far found no evidence of complicity or wrongdoing in the UltimateBet affair as far as Ryan is concerned, but that investigations continue.
Pala has been granted a six month transactional waiver allowing it to operate, but a full licence will only be issued on the completion of the DGE investigation.
The regulator additionally observes that Ryan has assured the authorities that the software used by Pala Interactive and tested by the DGE has no relationship with that which Excapsa-UltimateBet used.
The full details of the DGE investigation are in the public domain and can be viewed here:
In the document, DGE director David Rebuck refers to Ryan's tenure as Excapsa CEO between January 2005 and November 2006, a period during which the UltimateBet "superuser" scandal occurred. Ryan subsequently resigned but reentered the scene in 2008 as an advisor to the court-appointed liquidator when Excapsa went under.
Coincidentally, the DGE's comments have been followed by an interview with Ryan conducted by the poker information site Online Poker Report.
In the interview, Ryan reveals:
* Pala Interactive's online casino and poker software is proprietary and is totally independent of any software used by Excapsa - UltimateBet;
* Ryan says that Pala Interactive has spent the last few years developing a new online poker and casino i-gaming platform which has been approved by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Technical Service Bureau and includes a wide range of anti-fraud and collusion features.
* Operating in the New Jersey online gambling market will give Pala both presence and experience for the future in possibly wider US-regulated internet gambling markets;
* Pala's online poker offering, PalaPoker, will initially be a stand-alone operation, although the company is prepared to consider network partner opportunities;
* Pala's New Jersey partnership with Borgata is exclusive to New Jersey, and the company plans to identify other quality partners as further US state legalise online gambling;
* Ryan is optimistic about the chances for online poker legalisation in California next year as alliances grow stronger, and hopes that the ambitions of tribal groups, racetracks and card rooms can all be realised through cooperation;
* Ryan expresses sincere regrets for the UltimateBet scandal which took place between 2003 and 2007, but emphasises that he knew nothing about it for the 23 months he was CEO. His involvement is the subject of a DGE investigation which has thus far publically advised that it has found no evidence of complicity or wrongdoing on his part;
* The UltimateBet software gaff was developed and exploited in 2003 - long before Excapsa acquired the software in July 2005;
* The gaff was so sophisticated that it escaped recognition by three separate management teams during the course of the fraud over several years;
* Excapsa paid dearly for the gaff, refunding around $14.65 million to players;
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