UPDATE (01/27/2013): We’ve recently posted an updated report on the GTech scandal here on 4Flush.com.
GTech, a subsidiary of Lottomatica, was caught rigging two online casino games. The rigged games were Reel Deal and Hi/Lo Gambler. These games used a base code created by Realistic Games and were recoded by GTech. They were then distributed to a number of respectable online casinos. These include Betfred and NordicBet. Similar versions distributed by a different company appear on many other online casino platforms.
GTech G2 and sister company Spielo International may be better known in the online gambling community as Boss Media. All of these brands operate under the umbrella of Lottomatica. Boss Media has been in business for about 15 years. In addition to online casino software, this company operates the International Poker Network. The company provides lottery devices to several countries including Italy and Greece. They also distribute video lottery machines to some US states, including Oregon and South Dakota. The company was recommended for an online poker license in Nevada last week.
The Reel Deal and Hi/Lo Gambler games that were discovered as being rigged are essentially coin flip games. A player decides what the next card or combination of cards will be and the odds pay them according to the probability. The games were advertised as paying players back 100% at several online casinos. This means that there was no house edge. Unfortunately for players, these games were not giving a fair deal.
Katie91 played both Reel Deal and Hi/Lo Gambler at Betfred. She practiced on the free play mode first and received a fair game. She then decided to play for real money. After tens of thousands of hands of Hi/Lo Gambler she decided that the game was ripping her off. She provided her logs to her brother who drew the conclusion that Betfred was offering a rigged game at their online casino. Her return on an advertised 100% payback game was about 96%. According to her brother’s research, the chances of this happening in a fair deal due to variance are over 1 in 154 million.
Eliot Jacobson, a well respected fair game advocate, gives the chances that the card distribution was fair at 1 in 1,048,712,149,670,420,000,000,000. In his words, this is the same as receiving four consecutive pat royal flushes on a video poker machine or in Five Card Stud.
A Betfred representative addressed this issue. They made this post at Casinomeister:
Apologies for the delay, but the analysis of significant amounts of data and liaising with multiple suppliers takes time. We have moved as quick as possible without jeopardising the accuracy of the results, which you will find below.
- Realistic Games provided the assets and rights to the Reel Deal game but SPIELO G2 developed the game for their operators and in doing so changed a number of core features. As such, it is not right to identify Realistic Games as responsible for how the game performs.
- On developing the game, SPEILO G2 developed two version: fixed odds and fixed price. The latter was in operation at Betfred. Fixed price meant that randomness could be introduced via a certified (GLI and TST approved) RNG and an RTP was introduced. In this case, at 96% RTP.
- The development of the game in this way resulted in SPELO G2 inadvertently running the fun version of the game on a fixed odds model and not a fixed price, and therefore it ran at a different RTP.
- Finally, during the deployment of the game to Betfred the wrong help file was associated with the game and reported the wrong RTP.
Our initial offer of compensation in regard to the help file was made. However, having reviewed the analysis from SPEILO G2 and our own, we accept that Betfred Games has been running two versions of the same game for free and money play respectively and that is simply not acceptable. Based on that we will be refunding all losses on the game from when the game was introduced to Betfred, and will be removing other Realistic Games provided by SPIELO G2 to complete a review of their configuration, help files and RTP and until we’re confident in their accuracy. Compensation payments will be issued within 7 working days.
We would like to take this opportunity to apologise to our players and to thank the OP and the Casinomeister forum as a whole for bringing this to our attention. The integrity of our games and operation is of paramount importance to Betfred and value any feedback that strengthens or corrects our operation.
Finally, our logs and cooperation will remain open to authorised parties to further any part of this investigation.
Unfortunately, meaningful communication with players seemed to have stopped with this post. They have not even refunded the player that brought this rigged game public three weeks later.
Betfred offers online casino games through several distributors. It is apparent that Betfred failed to do proper testing on this game. This is required through their gaming commission’s licensing requirements. Betfred is licensed in Gibraltar and requires that a company offer a fair game. These are some of the regulations pertaining to this:
5) A licence holder should not implement game designs or features that may
reasonably be expected to mislead the customer about the likelihood of particular
results occurring. This includes, but is not limited to the following:
(a) Where a game simulates a physical device the theoretical probabilities and visual
representation of the device should correspond to the features and actions of the
physical device (e.g. roulette wheel).
7.2. ‘Play for Free’ Games
(1) Play for free games for no prize are not gambling but should accurately reflect any „real-money? version of the game, and should not be used to encourage those under 18 to use licensed gambling facilities.
(2) In particular, such games should not be designed to mislead the player about the chances for success by, for example, using mappings that produce different outcomes than the cash game. Licence holders should be able to demonstrate this equivalence to the Gambling Commissioner upon request.
Players have directed a large amount of anger towards Betfred. Most notably, Betfred seems complacent that they offered a game they knew did not deal a fair game. Their main point is that the help file was flawed. As you see from the above gaming regulations, a game using cards must use a fair deck. This is standard in all legitimate gaming jurisdictions. Betfred does not seem concerned that their game did not do this, only that their game did not use the proper help file and was different than their free play game.
Games Determined to be Adaptive
The games in question use cards to determine the outcome. A Spanish 21 deck is used. This means that tens are omitted but all other cards are in the deck. A player would expect that one card would be just as likely as another one to be drawn. This was not the case. While the free play game played correctly, the real money game would determine what outcome a player chose and then only give them a 48% chance of winning. This caused a 100% payback advertised game to pay back only 96%. It is clear that this game is an adaptive game, meaning that a player could never choose the correct side because the player’s wagers were taken into account when determining an outcome.
Betfred was not the only online casino that offered this game to remove it and refund players. NordicBet did the same thing. On the other hand, Bet365 stated that they were using the correct paytables and did not receive this game through GTech, therefor they do not feel their version is flawed.
This situation is very disturbing from a player standpoint. Boss Media, Spielo, Gtech, Lottomatica, or whatever you want to call the company that distributed this game intentionally created a game that someone knew was rigged or could be rigged. The only other explanation is that they simply did not test the game at all or completely fail to understand gambling laws and nobody in the chain of command did either. Even a small amount of testing would have proven a rigged game was being distributed. They have been silent to this point.
This makes all of their games suspect. In addition to casino games distributed to respectable companies, they also operate a relatively large sized online poker network. The company also distributes video poker machines in Oregon and South Dakota. How can any player that played on these sites or in video lottery states through a game distributed by Lottomatica know they received a fair game? Is a player sitting at a lottery machine enjoying Triple Ace Poker receiving the proper distribution of cards or is the game really a slot machine disguised as poker? These actions by Lottomatica’s subsidiaries brings all of their games into question and so does their silence.
It is even more disturbing that online casinos are not testing their games. Online casino platforms create reports that show the house win on each game. Online casinos offering these games would have easily seen that they were winning 4% of the handle on a game that allegedly had no house edge. Since they would have failed to properly test their game to offer the game to begin with, you would think they would still notice that they were booking huge wins on a game they should break even.
Nevada Interactive Gaming License
Lottomatica has received a recommendation for approval to offer online poker to Nevada residents. The company goes before the full Nevada Gaming Control Board next week for full approval. It will be interesting to see if this issue comes up or if they are approved just as the other companies that have gotten this deep in the process have.
This whole situation could have been a series of human errors and incompetence by the online casinos and Lottomatica subsidiaries. It may also have been intentional by some or all parties involved to generate more revenue. It is still not known if Lottomatica receives a percentage of the win by distributing these games or a flat fee. If they receive a portion of the win then that is just another reason to be concerned about every game that they offer.