Company Associated With Theft Of Online Poker Funds May Secure NV License

Nevada Gaming Control Board Recommends Approval Of Iovation Application

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Iovation co-founder Greg Pierson was a senior executive at UltimateBet during the infamous cheating scandal.

During the February meeting of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB) earlier this month, board members recommended that tech company Iovation be approved for a license to offer geo-location services to Nevada gaming operators.

Iovation co-founder Greg Pierson was implicated in the notorious cheating scandal at the now defunct online poker room UltimateBet.

The meeting minutes note that the service provider license application was not recommended unanimously. Board Chairman A.G. Burnett and member Terry Johnson voted to recommend Iovation’s application—subject to the condition that it be only allowed to supply geo-location services—while board member Shawn Reid cast the only vote against the recommendation.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board is set to vote on the final approval of the Iovation application when it meets on February 18.

NGB Familiar with Iovation

In May 2013, the GCB launched an investigation of Iovation after the company’s services were used by the now defunct Ultimate Poker to provide computer and player identification services.

The investigation was prompted by outrage expressed by players that anyone who might have been involved in the UltimateBet cheating scandal should be allowed to participate in the newly state regulated poker industry.

On May 9, 2013, Ultimate Poker dropped Iovation as a service provider.

UltimateBet Scandal

The UltimateBet scandal involved cheating through the use of a “god mode” facility in the poker software that allowed a user to see other players’ cards. Over $20 million was stolen from players by using the technology.

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission investigated the cheating and identified Russ Hamilton as the person solely responsible, however, the subsequent release of taped conversations between Hamilton, Pierson and two company attorneys, Daniel Friedberg and Sanford “Sandy” Millar, directly implicate Pierson in unethical behaviour.

The conversation discussed the specifics of the cheating and proposed ways for covering it up, refunding some affected players, and otherwise minimizing the impact on the company’s reputation. Hamilton, Pierson and the attorneys also discussed ways to not issue refunds to some of the players, if reasons could be found to not pay them.

Pierson has gone on to achieve success with Iovation, a company which he founded in 2004, “with one simple goal—make the Internet a safer place for people to do business.”

Online poker players have already picked up on the Nevada license application and are likely to re-raise the issue of the controversy surrounding Pierson’s activities at UltimateBet.

This article is syndicated by the leading poker industry news authority, Poker Industry PRO.

- A former founder of Poker Industry Pro and Head of Content at PokerNews publisher iBus Media, Joss Wood is a graduate in English from the University of Birmingham. Joss also holds a master’s degree in Organisational Development from the University of Manchester. His career path has taken him from the British Army, through business and finance to seven years as a successful professional poker player.
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