PPA Chairman Alfonse D'Amato Releases Statement on UltimateBet, Absolute Cheating Scandals
Early on Tuesday, the Poker Players Alliance released a statement authored by its chairman, former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, regarding the unfolding insider-cheating situation at UltimateBet and a similar situation at Absolute Poker that was exposed months earlier. D'Amato's statement called for a full and public disclosure of the affairs and included a renewed call for the United States to implement a licensing and regulatory framework for online poker to protect American citizens' interests. D'Amato also noted that the PPA is not a regulatory body per se, but that the unfolding events compelled the organization to make a statement on the matter.
"Trust is paramount in poker," began the heart of the D'Amato/PPA statement, the complete text of which is available at the pokerplayersalliance.com site. "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, it is especially troubling when cheating occurs in online poker. This has created an untenable atmosphere and has denied the proper means to investigate allegations, administer due process and then apply appropriate penalties for the wrongdoers. We urge these companies and their regulating authority, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, to provide a full and transparent accounting of these breaches of the public trust to help lift the black cloud that has been placed over the industry."
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission, or KGC, is the Canada-based regulatory body which claims oversight over UltimateBet, Absolute Poker, and a number of other online poker sites. Statements regarding the current UltimateBet situation were released on May 29th and July 8th, 2008 by Montreal-based Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG, the proprietors of UltimateBet, which acknowledged some of the screen names involved and promised restitution for the cheating uncovered to that point.
In making the call for full disclosure, the PPA vowed to renew its efforts to have regulatory measures put into place by the US federal government, rather than the current unworkable and trade-damaging ban called for under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). "The federal government cannot continue to abdicate this basic responsibility to millions of its citizens who choose to play poker on the Internet," continued the PPA statement. "The attempt to enforce an outright prohibition of online poker is deeply flawed and unworkable, not to mention it invades upon the personal freedoms of law-abiding adults who wish to engage in a game of skill."
D'Amato and the PPA closed by inferring that the scandals might turn out to be a key moment in the battle to create a US regulatory framework. Said the PPA: "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."