The one million member Poker Players Alliance has issued a statement on the huge online poker cheating controversy that continues to plague Tokwiro Enterprises's online poker sites Absolute Poker and UltimateBet, generating continued heated discussion across major poker message boards.
Former senator Alfonse D'Amato, the chairman of the Poker Players Alliance commented this week that one of the responsibilities of the Alliance was to protect poker players from misguided and vague laws and to establish licensed and regulated Internet poker in the U.S.
The Alliance therefore feels obliged to speak out when its mission to legalise online poker in the United States is undermined by actions which present Internet poker in a negative light, he said.
"Trust is paramount in poker," D'Amato asserted. "Sadly, this foundation has been undercut by admissions from two well-known online poker companies, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet, that cheating has occurred on their poker sites.
"The Poker Players Alliance condemns any and all cheating in poker no matter the forum in which it is played. Because of the current legal uncertainties and the lack of federal regulation and oversight [in the United States], it is especially troubling when cheating occurs in online poker."
D'Amato said that the regulatory situation in America has resulted in an atmosphere where it is difficult for a proper investigation into these sorts of allegations to be conducted, and consequently the Alliance is urging both Absolute and UltimateBet, and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission regulating authority, to provide a full accounting of the breaches of public trust to help dispel the negative light cast on the industry.
The Alliance spokesman said that the KGC had investigated reports of a security breach on both the UltimateBet and Absolute Poker sites. It was found at both sites that a breach in security had resulted in certain accounts having an unfair advantage at the poker tables.
"These recent cheating scandals underscore the need for U.S. licensing and regulation of online poker to help protect consumers," D'Amato continued. "While even the most highly regulated industries are susceptible to fraud and abuse, regulation does provide assurances that when consumers are harmed they have recourse.
"These scandals will not and should not be the demise of a responsible government approach to Internet poker. Instead, this can be the pathway to understanding that regulation is the key to protecting citizens and the future of America's card game."
Absolute Poker and UltimateBet have both issued statements on the cheating scandal, as has the KGC in fining Absolute Poker $500 000 and censuring the company. However, the consensus in the player community appears to be that full disclosure on those involved has not yet been delivered, and various online poker message board detective teams continue to probe the issue.