It took almost six months for the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA) to release its findings on rigged games that were offered by a number of licensees through Finsoft and GTECH subsidiaries. Players have found the response to be completely unsatisfactory.
The release, published by Casinomeister, acknowledged that Hi/Lo Gambler had some issues. They blamed the posting of incorrect help files for the error. They also blamed the player that discovered the issues, a player the GRA claims should have never existed.
There were two serious issues discovered by players and admitted to by regulators that were hardly addressed. The play money and real money games had different payouts and games that used cards did not randomly deal them. The cards were fixed to produce a hold of 4%, even though the pay tables showed a 100% payback. This meant that the game would adapt to what a player wagered and would produce a bias against winning numbers. These features violate interactive gaming laws in Gibraltar and any other legitimate gaming jurisdiction.
Instead of acknowledging and punishing the operators and software providers, the regulatory commission decided to blame the player that caught the fraudulent games. While it is unfortunate that a player that appears to have tried to exploit the flaw in the game was the one to publicly expose it, these games were known to be rigged as far back as March 2012 on Stan James. The GRA does not even mention this fact. Instead, it focuses on the player that discovered the issue in December 2012.
The GRA stated that an operator would never offer a game that paid back 100%. This is not true at all. Some poker and casino bonuses equal 100% or more in player returns. There are also games that have been offered by Betfair in their Zero Lounge that had no house hold. It is not be unheard of for a game to payback 100% like the GRA alleges.
Eliot Jacobson, a well respected fair gaming advocate had this to say:
We see that one of the most important regulatory agencies is willfully silent on the key issue — a game that used a virtual representation of a physical device was programmed to have that device behave in a deceptively biased fashion. Biased dice. Biased roulette wheels. Biased decks of cards. By its failure to sanction, the GRA has left the door open for companies that offer online casino products to abuse the public’s trust. Shame on the GRA.
As the Casinomeister thread heated up, a petition was proposed by players. Phill Brear, the GRA Gambling Commission’s chairman, released this statement. It reads in part:
I look forward to seeing who actually signs the petition and comes out from behind their shield(s) of anonymity.
Many players felt the statement to be a direct threat to anyone that challenged the GRA’s position through a petition. It also still failed to address the adaptive game issues. In fact, the post states that the 48-card deck used in this game could not be compared to a real card game because it had been dealt in slot form in betting shops. This is in direct contradiction to the GRA’s own rules, making the point irrelevant.
Mr. Brear then states:
The game cannot be a representation of a pack of cards, how could it pay 12x etc.
This is a complete fail at math for a man whose job it is to oversee companies that deal with odds in their everyday business. Hi/Lo Gambler used a 48-card Spanish 21 deck, meaning there were no 10’s. The game advertised a 100% payback and a 12x payout on picking the correct card would have produced the advertised 100% return.
The online gambling community waited nearly six months for a response that ignored the biggest issues and later showed that the man in charge of the investigation could not comprehend the simplest of gambling math. It will be hard for players and other regulators to take Gibraltar serious ever again after these statements by its leader.
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