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An open letter...

Discussion in 'Online Casinos' started by Bruno712, Apr 7, 2004.

    Apr 7, 2004
  1. Bruno712

    Bruno712 Banned User

    Boston, MA
    Before I go off on one of my usual tangents, I need to preface any diatribe with a few facts that, I hope, will allay any accusations of bias.

    I have been gambling, on and off, for 34 years. My first bet was a 2 team teaser on two dogs, BC and Michigan, in college football in the fall of 1970. I have been gambling online sporadically since 1998. In fact, I believe it was you, Brian, that resolved a dispute I had with English Harbour Casino in December of 1999. Since retiring I have had more time and a lot more money to dabble in this hobby. I believe discipline, research and the 5 Ps are the cornerstone to success in any field or venture. So I make reading this and other gambling portals forums a part of my daily routine as I am sure most of you do. After winning and losing hundreds of thousands of dollars at various and sundry casinos, I believe I have a pretty fair take on how this entire business works. I have no problem with free enterprise, as I am a capitalist down to the marrow of my bones. I have no problem with guys like you, Brian, capitalizing on the needs of both casinos and players. There is a need and you and others like you, fill it. I do, however, take issue with any claims of neutrality when it comes to people taking beaucoup money from only one side. It is only human nature to show bias, whether consciously or subconsciously, to the side that is putting food on your plate! When someone opens an advocate site free of casino ads, then I may think differently, but, being the cynic I am, probably not. All this being said, here we go

    Perhaps it is the lawyer in me, in fact, I know it is the lawyer in me, but where I come from, a person is suppose to be innocent until proven guilty. Because Ryan Hartley said he is guilty and because Brian reiterates Ryans belief, does not make this guy guilty. I have seen no evidence, the rest of your readers have seen no evidence and, in a court of law, hearsay evidence, as it is presented in this public forum, is inadmissible! When a group of people go behind closed doors and accuse, prosecute, judge and sentence someone without a public display of evidence it is referred to as a kangaroo court! The cry of guilty from Ryan (at this point) is no more plausible than that of Warren Cloud in the Pirate issue! You may say, Well, you dont have all the facts. Precisely my point! And you do not have the right to denigrate this Interabunchofnumbers dude, until you can and will present the facts. It is no different than my pointing at someone and calling them a rapist because someone was raped and another guy told me this person did it. And then, when I am questioned, my proof is saying, I know it to be true because someone told me. If you are going to have a public hanging at least include the public in the prosecution and defense. This guy is, most probably, guilty as hell. But we dont have the right to even assume that without proof. Not someones word that they have proof.

    This nonsense has gone on in this cyber gambling world since its inception and it will continue to go on until there is some kind of regulating and governing body that is given some juice by casinos and players alike. As long as we allow casinos to make their own rules, change these rules on a whim and treat their customers like the faceless entities they are, this business will never even approach legitimacy. As long as players continue to successfully outsmart the existing gambling programs, the casino worlds collective paranoia will continue (and rightfully so) to exist. It took Las Vegas 50 years to gain legitimacy. And it did so by not only creating rules and laws to control casinos, owners and players, but also by creating a legitimate governing body to enforce them.

    As it stands now in online gambling, casinos have the power, absolute power. I will not bore you with the quote.
  2. Apr 7, 2004
  3. clj7221

    clj7221 Dormant account

    Very honest post. You brought up many good points. I can argue that many cases have been tried through a judge without a Jury.
    so we can look at is as Casinomeister is the Judge he saw the evidence and the verdict is guilty.

    Casinomeister was very fair and gave this " player" many opportunities to fess up and/or just walk away without this going any further.

    The player still pushed this and Casinomeister had no choice but to put the facts on the table and kind enough not to reveal this "Players" personal information and further events that Casinomeister is aware of.

    I would say the Verdict is in and Case closed!
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2004
  4. Apr 7, 2004
  5. jpm

    jpm Dormant account

    I too would like to commend Bruno for an excellent post. There are a couple of points to remember though. Innocent until proven guilty is something we here in the US not only ascribe to, but insist upon. Its one of the principles our country is founded upon. HOWEVER, this is not the case everywhere (and nearly anywhere) else in the world. The casinomeister is based in Europe, not the US. The casinos are based in various civilized and third-world countries. And the players are also from all corners of the globe. Unfortunately, our US constitutional and legal rights are not omnipotent and the standards of law that you believe should be applied to people like Mr. Interabunchofnumbers simply don't apply in these venues. This is a VERY important point to keep in mind. While it would be nice to think that our laws and rights would apply to us no matter where we go and what we do, that's just not the case.

    A US citizen is assumed to be playing in the jurisdiction of the casino when he/she is playing online. So sometimes you are playing in Costa Rica, sometimes in Canada, sometimes South Africa, etc etc. Since federal law prohibits US citizens from owning & running online casinos, our standards of law will never apply until that prohibition is lifted.

    What we have here is more of a tribunal/arbitration environment I think, with Bryan as the final judge and sometimes executioner. I think that to some extent, the forum contributors act as jury, but in the end, its his board and his decision here is final. I for one think he perfoms his duties outstandingly, and I'm sure it is not an easy job by any means.

    If the player/accuser doesn't like the results, the appeals process is pretty simple. State your case on another board like WOL and see if you can get a ruling in your favor there. (Its even better than the de novo system!)
  6. Apr 7, 2004
  7. Bruno712

    Bruno712 Banned User

    Boston, MA
    I could not agree more with what you said regarding both Brian's performance as an arbitrator and the nebulous legal area under which internet gambling is allowed to do business. The latter is exactly my point . There needs to BE a controlling body. And, contrary to popular belief, in corporate and civil cases involving international entities that are heard in a World Courtroom, there is no assumption of innocence even if one or both of the entities or individuals is a US citizen. However, unlike here (the world of cyber gaming), there is not an assumption of guilt either. And it happens to both player and casino alike. A guy loses and the casino cheats. A guy wins a substantial amount of money and he is a thief or part of a conspiracy. The business cannot last, never mind flourish or gain legitimacy, if this constant badgering continues. It will remain an undeground, disdained second class citizen. It will continue to make short money off the hardcore and addicted gambler. But it will never realize the proportion of the gaming industry that it could were it run decently and honestly.

    And, to clarify my original post a bit, I, by no means, am singling out Brian or Ryan Hartley as bad guys or good guys. I used Brian as an example because this is his website and I used Ryan because it is he that is the representative of the casino involved in this latest mess. I had reason to deal with Ryan regarding a lost deposit in December of last year and he addressed it and handled it without haste! I also, and I cannot emphasize this enough, did not, in any way, wish to imply that Ryan and Warren Cloud are in the same league, conference or even universe. My post was not intended to hurt anybody's feelings nor was it an attempt to tarnish anyone's reputation. If it seemed that way, I apologize. That is what we call in the biz, a legal disclaimer, lol.

    I will, however, stand by what I said about tilting toward the buttered bread side of the table. When I first passed the bar I was employed by the Comm of Massachusetts DA's office. My "oath" vowed that I would uphold the Constitution of the US. My bosses, the guys that paid me, the people of the Commonwealth, insisted that I obtain as many convictions as quickly as possible or find a new job. What I said here about the situation the owners of these websites are in is no different. I never withheld exculpatory evidence from a defense team, but I didn't go out of my way to prove their client innocent either.
  8. Apr 7, 2004
  9. jpm

    jpm Dormant account

    I fully agree, there does need to be some sort of regulatory body or entity to make sure these places play fair. I think that eCOGRA is a good start towards this end. Have you read about them in the Casino Industry Discussions thread?
  10. Apr 7, 2004
  11. Casinomeister

    Casinomeister Forum Cheermeister Staff Member

    Groovy, I like open letters. They are much better than closed letters which normally should be open in the first place.

    Before I go on, please, PLEASE address me as Bryan not Brian. I thought you were addressing B. Cullingworth at first, so I started breezing through the first part

    or you can just call me the dude.

    Anyway, to hit on a few points. Excellent post and these are the sort of posts that keep this an honest open forumthe way it was meant to be. I would not have it any other way.

    Actually, its not that simple. It may appear that casinos pay to be on the site, and that I will stick up for the casinos on my site (which I will), but its much more involved in that. Casinos will pay to be on the site because they know that its worth it. Players will play at these casinos because they trust me to make good calls, and in most cases I do. Casinos are aware that if they seriously screw up, theyre out. Casinomeister has been online for six years, and Ive only had to discontinue a couple of campaigns and have only rogued one group. I think thats a pretty good record. What makes this site unique compared to many of the other larger portals is that my overhead is very low. I dont have salaries to pay; Vortran works for free, the biggest bill to pay is my for my server, my monthly spend on advertising is $0.

    So if a casino that I endorse finds itself on the curb, its not going to send me into a panic.

    True. But like several people may have mentioned, this is not a court of law in the US -- its a business being scrutinized by people from every nationality and from every walk of life. And its seemingly like the wild west.

    But Im not here as the Sheriff, or the judge or jury, Im just calling the shots as I see them. For the past few years, players have come to me with their complaints, and I have to rely on both my instincts and past experience when dealing with player fraud. Player fraud is much more widespread than people think, and it affects me directly. I spend an incredible amount of time on a weekly basis writing emails, contacting casinos, checking out websites, digging through old files, just to solve player complaints. When it turns out that a player lies to me, it pisses me off more than if a casino does. They have breached my trust and stolen time from other players who deserve it much more than them. A few months ago, more then half of the complaints I dealt with were fraudulent complaints.

    How do I know they were fraudulent. Well when Joe fraudster complaints about being shut out with xyz casino, they may have forgotten that they were bitching about abc casino in the forum a year ago. Its easier for me to put puzzles together since I have copies of all the forum postings, to include the defunct OPAs and the complaints that the OPA dealt with as well. Most fraudsters know that when they come to me, they get caught.

    When I see players complaining in the forums, and not coming to meI keep my eyes open. Something might be up.

    Now bearing this in mind, I am as flexible as blade of grass in a gentle breeze :D Sometimes I am wrong, not often but sometimes. For instance with the Pirate, I was one of the first persons to hear the entire tapped episode and had spoken with the operator. I was pretty much convinced that the Pirate had done something funky, I didnt know what, but I was pretty much convinced that he had used a robot, mainly because he said he did. I stood up for the casino and for RTG, even though they werent clients of mine. But after speaking with the pirate, and listening what others had to say, I changed my mind and decided that the operator was a lying scum bag. Im still pissed.

    Briefly back to this:
    I have publicly stood up for a number of casinos that I do not endorse. I even stood up for Grand Banks recently when dealing with player fraud, and they are in the rogue section. :what:

    Well the deal is that I feel that I have the right denigrate this Interabunchofnumbers dude because this is my forum. And if I believe that someone is abusing this forum, I will make him feel uncomfortable. If this dude wants to take it further, he can either Pitch a Bitch or I will refer him to eCogra -- see how they will handle it. BTW, he made the mistake of posting at WOL which is owned by Cryptologic. :D I dont think theyll tolerate his crap too much longer either.

    In my opinion, the only reason this guy continued to post was that he found some sympathetic members, which is fine with me - I dont care. I didnt ban him, and I dont plan to unless he gets belligerent.

    I dont think that most casinos (at least the ones I deal with ) treat their customers as faceless. I think its the other way around. Most players dont give a shit about the casino or the people they employ, they just care about their bonuses.

    Im out there every couple of months or so meeting the people behind the casinos, the software providers. These are real people. And when these casinos get involved in these forums, they are in touch with us as well.

    But back to whats going on here, I think what has happened at Casinomeister over the past six years (in June people lets get a party goin!) has benefited the player, and given both the casinos and their software providers legitimacy, mainly from how this site has evolved, and the information provided here, the news section, the newsletter, the webcast (which I was supposed to be working on now), and of course the rogue section.

    And then there is this forum. This is an open forum, and as long as the members abide by the rules, its open.

    Lastly, I try to legitimize this industry via Casinomeister, not because of any buttered bread, but because I like what I do and I enjoy doing it. I'm not motivated by profit, and most of the people who matter know this.

  12. Apr 7, 2004
  13. GrandMaster

    GrandMaster Ueber Meister CAG

    Mathematician by day, online gambler by night.
    People may use the word fraud, but an analogy with a civil court rather than a criminal court would be better, so the principle of innocent until proven guilty does not apply. We are not talking about convicting people and sending them to prison here.

    The most common issue is whether someone deserves to be paid or not, whether he complied with the terms and conditions of the casino. This should be decided on the balance of probabilities. In the current Intercasino poker case, if Intercasino has convincing evidence that this player has opened several accounts or colluded with others in contravention of the rules, then they are entitled to withhold payment.
    1 person likes this.
  14. Apr 8, 2004
  15. cipher

    cipher Banned member - being a jerk

    I couldn't disagree more. In this instance, what, if anything did Intercasino do to entitle them to this $8,200.00? This is POKER for gods sake not Slots or Blackjack. Its' no secret that Intercasino has shit software and they've known that they've had shit software that borders on being skewed software for one hell of a long time.

    Intercasino can't handle even the most menial of computer tasks, and if nothing else this latest fiasco proves beyond any doubt that Intercasino's software is inept beyond words in failing miserably to screen for multiple casino accounts and/or Neteller accounts.

    None of us have seen anything in the way of proof that this guy did anything wrong and that's a fact. The only thing we have is Ryan Hartley's allegations and the Casinomeister's backing of Ryan Hartley's play on this. But we have no facts to support the allegations made by Ryan Hartley. In every bit the same way as we had no facts to suggest that Pirate used a bot.

    Lastly, substitute Rich Katz here for Ryan Hartley and you've got the exact same set of circumstances, allegations but absolutely nothing (except the daily lies from Rich Katz) in the way of facts or proof.
  16. Apr 8, 2004
  17. spearmaster

    spearmaster RIP Ted

    Devil's Advocate
    Some very interesting reading here - a lot of good points, so let me just make one small correction:

    This is not yet established. The US Gov't would like people to assume that they are playing in their homes. The online gambling industry, of course, says that you are playing in the jurisdiction of the server location.

    It's highly debatable either way - but a test of physical presence could cause a problem for the online gambling operators... and the lack of servers on US territory could cause a problem for the Gov't :)
  18. Apr 8, 2004
  19. jetset

    jetset RIP Brian CAG

    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Another stimulating discussion on Casinomeister, with persuasive arguments all round. Kudos to Bruno for initiating this interesting thread.

    I don't believe this statement to be accurate: "In this instance, what, if anything did Intercasino do to entitle them to this $8,200.00?" Elsewhere in this thread, or maybe over at WOL I'm sure that it has been disclosed that Intercasino intend to distribute the $8 200 among the alleged colluder's victims.

    It seems to me that this incident has provoked some seperate beefs about Intercasino's operation and software that may influence opinions. There are clearly some strong personal views, as there would be if one or more of the posters here had been a player-victim of the collusion. Unfortunately those victims are not here - not an unusual occurrence bearing in mind the relatively small percentage of players that are smart enough to use the message boards.

    I'm not sure I agree that the situation is analogous with the Hampton debacle, although Cipher was way more intimately involved in that than any of us here and is probably in a more informed position to comment on it. Intercasino have said straight-up that they were alerted by complaints from many players, that Interwhatever featured in these and that this was collaborated by other information on their systems - sufficiently so to constitute in their view a balance of probabilities strong enough to motivate them to protect their players, and indirectly themselves. If they did not protect their players, the conventional wisdom is that they would lose players. If they had not moved on Inter??? after suspecting illicit activity they would probably be under attack here right now for doing nothing and letting the colluders hit on their clients.

    The internet gambling scene remains a wild and wooly place; it is not an ordered and safe society yet and we have all seen several of the bolder scamsters trying to use message boards to scare advantages which are not due out of the casinos. Fortunately it's not usually the players that are pulling a fast one, but this is certainly not unknown.

    As the middle man and owner here Bryan has to call them as he sees them on the basis of what he has been shown and told, and the many who come here for satisfaction generally accept that because this is not a court of law but a portal with a well-connected guy in charge who tries really hard to do the right and fair thing...for free.

    Every reader here will make his or her own judgement on the information to hand, and Bryan's own opinion is an important guide for many because he has more industry and mediating experience than most.

    Members are absolutely entitled to make their own judgements and express their views, or take their business elsewhere - be it casino or portal oriented.
  20. Apr 8, 2004
  21. dominique

    dominique Dormant account

    The Boonies
    This is a very interesting thread and I want to thank all the contributors.

    All of these points come up here and there throughout discussions but rarely has any thread completely focussed on this.

    There are so many good points and also things I would like to comment on that I can't put it in a message of reasonable length so I will try to cut myself short.

    Ok, this one I have to disagree with. The readers of a board are not a judge or jury either, and publicizing details of what one thinks someone did or didn't do borders on possible slander. The integrity of all involved pepole has to be preserved. So far nobody has sued for slander and libel on the casino related web as far as I know. Having fallen victim to it myself I have seriously considered suing at the time and it is just a big mess. I do not think that publicizing findings during an informal investigation is a feasible nor adviseable thing. When I mediate it doesn't even make the message boards at all.

    There is no public hanging here. Bryan investigated and voiced his opinion. You can voice your opinion also. Bryan's opinion weighs in heavily. Why? Because he has a record of being fair. Because he has helped many, many players.

    There we go again. There are lots and lots of casinos online, they all want to be promoted by affiliates. You guys consistently get this story upside down. Come join me at one of the conferences and you will see people running after affiliates almost begging to be listed. Decent sites can be as choosy as they please. We definitely do NOT depend on any casino, or group of casinos, or even software.

    Aso, the fact that there is an ad for the casino in dispute on the site makes it MORE likely that a resolution in favor of the player is reached. The casinos are quite motivated to keep a productive affiliate happy, and they will be very receptive to mediation. That is one reason why I only mediate for players coming through my own site - I know I have the clout to get things done.

    And this is also what makes Bryan stand out in the crowd - over the years he has established relationships with many, many places - including those he would not tolerate on his site. His reach is very much farther than that of any other webmaster, hands down.

    Well, maybe Spears is in the same league. :D

    Capitalizing? Mediating is a pain in the axx! Casinos see you coming and groan, players are impatient and prod, people get angry and yell at you and insult you - and nobody is paying you for it. More often than not you don't even get a thank you. This site and my site and many others on the web would and could do just as well if not better if they didn't mediate disputes. And it certainly would make for a life with less friction.

    Yes, regulation is sorely needed. I am totally sold on that. But my bet is that even with regulation there will be plenty of mediation going on. It beats going to court on every instance - we do this in the brick and mortar world also.
  22. Apr 8, 2004
  23. jpm

    jpm Dormant account

    Are you sure about this spear? I could swear that I remember reading about a case where someone in the US was being prosecuted for 'illegal' gambling by playing in an online casino and the courts ruled that they were considered to be playing in the jurisdiction of the casino when they placed their wagers and thus weren't guilty of illegal gambling.

  24. Apr 8, 2004
  25. spearmaster

    spearmaster RIP Ted

    Devil's Advocate
    I'd have to see which case/ruling you're talking about - but as it stands there is currently no accepted definition of where the bet is taking place.

    I am not aware of an instance where an issue related to online casino gambling was taken to court. Sports betting, definitely - and that is another ballgame, with the Wire Act definitely considered to be applicable to sports wagers.

    Until federal or local governments rule on the legality, illegality or lack of status of online gambling, the issue of "where" is moot in any case. Ultimately, it will probably be left to each state to form their own definition of location, and undoubtedly if online gambling is ruled illegal in that state, "physical presence" will play a big role.

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