Thursday June 20,2013 : SWEDISH ONLINE POKER MONOPOLY MAKES PLAYERS WHOLE FOLLOWING CHEATING SCAM
Illegal bot ring operated for months
Sweden's online gambling monopoly Svenska Spel's announcement this week that it has compensated the 25,300 players impacted by a bot ring cheating scandal earlier this year has shown that the issue was larger than originally thought.
The announcement values compensation paid to players at the equivalent of around US$586,000, substantially more than reports back in February this year which indicated that the amount involved was US$280,000.
Apologising for the delay in paying out impacted players, Svenska Spel chief executive Lennart Käll said that extensive investigations had to be carried out, with millions of hands analysed to arrive at the correct numbers and who had been prejudiced.
Back in April, the poker information site Pokerfuse broke the news that 14 (now 15) accounts had been isolated and closed following the discovery of a bot ring conspiracy on the Svenska Spel online poker operation. The ring had apparently been operating for at least six months, and there had been player complaints.
The national police in Sweden, together with the Swedish Gaming Board were called in to investigate the fraudulent activity, and from the start the Swedish operator gave a commitment that it would make whole any player prejudiced by the bot ring's activity.
"According to posts from Svenska Spel representatives on their player forum, the bots played Hold’em from NL50 up to NL500 and most of the winnings were accrued in the last six months," Pokerfuse reported at the time. "The site would not reveal the screen names involved while investigations are ongoing."
Svenska Spel was also candid in a press statement to Swedish media, in which it admitted that it should have referred the matter to the police earlier.
Although operators are constantly on the alert for collusion and fraud, this is not the first such incident, and it will likely not be the last.
Back in 2010 Pokerstars detected a ring of 49 colluding Chinese fraudsters and had to reimburse $2.1 million to around 25,000 of its players.
Poker punters themselves play a key role in exposing such incidents; a high level of expertise is resident within the player community, which communicates through message boards and collaborates on exposes like the Absolute Poker fraud, an incident that ultimately cost that operator $22.1 million in player compensation and many more millions in punitive fines imposed by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and lost business .