Former WSOP Winner Russ Hamilton Named as Primary Force Behind Ultimat Bet Online Poker Cheating Scandal

by Lou on October 7, 2008

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission’s report—prepared by Frank Catania, president of Catania Gaming Consultants and former director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, on its licensee, Ultimate Bet—follows a three-and-a-half year cheating scandal that has been well-reported here and elsewhere online.
The audit named names—or at least named one name—and it was former WSOP champion Russ Hamilton (pictured left) who is alleged to be primarily responsible for taking millions from online players at the site.
Hamilton was formerly associated with Ultimate Bet’s affiliate program, according to the report.

Hamilton is unlikely to be the only individual involved. Chuck Barnett, spokesperson for the commission, said from what he understands Mr. Hamilton is not the only individual involved, and other names are likely to come out in the final report.

The KGC has imposed these sanctions against Ultimate Bet, which must be in place by Nov. 3, 2008:

* Begin refunding all players adversely affected by the cheating scheme. The company has refunded $6.1 million to date, but this summer received another round of refund requests.

* Remove all persons deemed by the commission as “unsuitable,” from the company, including all levels of ownership, management and operation, and is required to continue to provide complete details of all day-to-day operations of the company.

Ultimate Bet was also fined $1.5 million.

Should UB fail to comply with these initial sanctions the commission will immediately revoke its license.

This news came as CBS 60 Minutes was completing its story about the Absolute Poker scandal that is due to air shortly. They will focus on Russ Hamilton and on Allan Grimard, another suspect in the cheating scandal.

We reported on Grimard (also known as AJ Green) on three occasions: As early as a year ago, on October 30, 2007, again on January 20, 2008, and most recently on August 24, 2008.

Grimard was a “consultant” for the Absolute Poker who had previously been a supervisor at Nine.com, another online gambling firm that operated from the same complex as Absolute.

If Hamilton and Grimard (Green) are guilty, they need to face prosecution. I only hope that investigations do not end here, and that Hamilton and Grimard are not simply thrown under the bus with assertions that the investigation is complete. KGC needs to be sure that this investigation is followed to its logical conclusion, regardless of where the chips fall. That’s the only way to bring a sense of completion to the scandal and trust to these two sites in the future.

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