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Announcement from the GRA concerning Hilo and ReelDeal games

Discussion in 'Online Casinos' started by Casinomeister, May 20, 2013.

Thread Status:
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    May 20, 2013
  1. Casinomeister

    Casinomeister Forum Cheermeister Staff Member

    I've just received the statement from the Gibraltar Gambling Commission concerning the Hilo and ReelDeal games.

    Please bear in mind that commenting is to be expected, but members who chose to turn this into a self-serving forum circus will be dealt with appropriately. I am out this week, but the moderators will be monitoring this for any questions or valid comments. Thanks!

    Last edited: May 28, 2013
    33 people like this.
  2. May 20, 2013
  3. Richas

    Richas Senior Member

    Project Manager
    I will try to be constructive here despite being disappointed that the awaited statement tells us what we knew already
    1) the original poster was a bad un
    2) a mistake was made in the software help file
    3) The play game differed from the real money game

    and seems to add one new bit of information - that the regulator is disappointed with the error but is taking no action. Indeed it is offering a defence of its licencees against malicious allegations rather than taking any action.

    It is a bit of a none statement really.

    As a constructive approach I suggest a list of the questions outstanding from the thread and this case. Some are direct to this one instance, others are about the regulatory weaknesses it has highlighted.

    1) Why did the certification not catch this problem? How will this change in future?
    2) Was the RTP of the fixed price real money version altered (varied) without notification to players?
    3) Can the RTP be changed by a supplier without recertification or notification to players?
    4) Can the optimal play of a game be altered without recertification or notification to players?
    5) Which parties testing failed? Was it the licencee or the supplier? Indeed did the licencee do their own test as required by the licence?
    6) Why do the mandatory quarterly checks of returns from games not include reference to the advertised RTP? Is it clear that these checks happen at all?
    7) What measures have been put in place to prevent a re-occurrence?
    8) What refunds to players will be made?
    9) What happened to the extra money won compared to the advertised RTP? The UKGC precedent for a FOBT machine was that it went to problem gambling research/help but here the players are identifiable.
    10) Is it possible for the fixed price available for the same brand of game to differ between licenced suppliers? (Under the same certification)
    11) Is it possible to have different optimal play for the same brand of game using the same certification at different sites?

    Feel free to improve the above questions or add to them.
    7 people like this.
  4. May 20, 2013
  5. Balthazar

    Balthazar The Governor

    Top Secret
    Holy sh*t, the BIGGEST issue was that it's a card game that doesn't behave like a real deck of cards, and they didn't address it?
    17 people like this.
  6. May 20, 2013
  7. spoonboy

    spoonboy Dormant account

    IT geek
    GRA: "If katie91 had used his real identity he would have run the risk of being declined or discovered; if he had asked ‘can I use a bot’ he would have been declined; so the katie91 account should never have existed, the game play should never have taken place."

    So what? Does that mean it was ok for Betfred/Finsoft/Spielo/Gtech et al and many others to scam their punters for 4 or 5 years?

    Thank goodness that Katie did break their terms and bring this cheating to the public's attention, otherwise we would not have concrete proof that BF, GRA etc are crooks - we would have only suspected it. By releasing this statement the GRA have admitted they are crooked.
    1 person likes this.
  8. May 20, 2013
  9. Balthazar

    Balthazar The Governor

    Top Secret
    No one gave a crap about the OP, he's irrelevant. He could be the most dishonest man on Earth and it wouldn't change a damn thing. I can't believe that they spent that much time talking about him and what he did. Very unprofessional.

    This statement was as disappointing as I was expecting it to be.
    2 people like this.
  10. May 20, 2013
  11. spoonboy

    spoonboy Dormant account

    IT geek
    Is Betfred going to stay on the accredited list even though they have been shown to have cheated players by offering an unfair game for several years and have refused to reimburse the affected players.

    If I were an affected player I would now be suing them.
    2 people like this.
  12. May 20, 2013
  13. Przecinek

    Przecinek Experienced Member

    First of all thanks CM for posting this statement as soon as you got it.

    Now what we see here is not a cover up but simply lack of understanding of what constitutes as an 'adaptive game'. We have misinterpretation of real life symbols here - namely cards. This has been brought up before, it's all written down in GCAs rules.

    Just one quote

    So instead of having different cards in a high low game, we have an arbitrary number. For a 52 deck shoe each card should have approx. 192 numbers assigned of out 10.000 (or simply 100 out of 5200). Instead the system first determines if we lose or win and then if we lose it will give as a loosing card even if we have an ace and decided to go for a lower card. How is that not 'adaptive'? This is essentially the definition of a perfect adaptive game. This is very sad and :( :(

    It seems that anyone can create a rigged 90% RPT roulette and GCA will happily accept that as long as casino can prove that you had a 45% chance of win. I feel speechless, powerless etc.
    4 people like this.
  14. May 20, 2013
  15. questa

    questa Dormant account PABnononaccred PABnoaccred


    That is the most unprofessional thing I have ever read.

    It does not read as an objective, unbiased analysis, to put it mildly.

    In fact, that statement is the most disturbing part of this whole seedy affair, imo.
    1 person likes this.
  16. May 20, 2013
  17. shapesy

    shapesy Experienced Member

    the words carpet, brush,and under spring to mind
  18. May 20, 2013
  19. deucebag

    deucebag Experienced Member PABnononaccred PABnonaccred PABaccred

    As others have mentioned, the most important problem wasn't even addressed: We're dealing with a card game that does not behave like a card game. This is even in contravention of the GRA's standards.

    I guess we already knew it, but this again shows that gaming regulators don't really care about "fair play".
  20. May 20, 2013
  21. pokeraddict

    pokeraddict Webmaster

    Pro Poker Player
    Las Vegas
    It is clear that GRA seems to focus on how they and their licensees were caught and not what they were caught doing. Silence would have been better.
  22. May 20, 2013
  23. Richas

    Richas Senior Member

    Project Manager
    Worse they are not obliged to tell the player what the RTP is and even if they do tell them a RTP% and it is wrong they still face no sanction, no requirement to compensate, nothing. For any card game they are not obliged to explain the game or have the deck act as a deck......this is the GRA not inmposing their own rules. To be honest it is hard to see how they can have a high rating as a regulator when their written rules are ignored and the attitude to players is that they are fraudsters and cheaters. As a reminder this is what the commissioner told the DCMS select committee:

    You must register/login in order to see the link.

    This is a regulator rated as High? High for who?
    1 person likes this.
  24. May 20, 2013
  25. binshakindown

    binshakindown Time sure flys

    Engineering consultant
    I am confused

    I thought that the original thread was about software not behaving as stated in the help/pay tables.

    I appreciate that Casinomeister posted this statement as promised.

    For some reason, I don't understand the first 40% to 50% of the statement. I think the statement should be re-stated by the regulators, since I'm not clear as to what the regulators intended to state about the actual stated facts and whether the statement made by the regulators stated emotional appeal to make their statement less stating. Simply stated of course.
  26. May 20, 2013
  27. MisterBJ

    MisterBJ Account suspended until further notice - please co

    Accredited or Not avoid those places that uses the software. Withdraw any money with them. Tell all your friends and family to do the same. Don't ever go back to them. Let them play with themselves. Games are easily rigged because they are programmed to do so. I bet if a harder look was taken. You would find it all across the board.
    2 people like this.
  28. May 20, 2013
  29. mrmark21

    mrmark21 Meister Member

    Telecommunications Consultant
    Happy I stopped playing online two weeks ago. How can I trust anything the GRA "claims" to regulate when that's the attitude they take when problems arise? How can I be sure I'm getting a fair game... Talk about brushing under the carpet.
    1 person likes this.
  30. May 20, 2013
  31. Mousey

    Mousey Ueber Meister Mouse CAG

    Pencil Pusher
    Thanks to Bryan for posting this statement promptly.

    But... I've said in the other thread and I'll say it again (ad nauseum) it wasn't about the OP, it wasn't about the goofy paytable, it's about a CARD GAME that doesn't behave like a 52 card deck card game. It's a freaking slot machine.... or carnival game... or sideshow game... or whatever you want to call it. **tearing hair out**
    5 people like this.
  32. May 20, 2013
  33. Eliot Jacobson

    Eliot Jacobson Dormant account

    President, Jacobson Gaming, LLC
    Santa Barbara
    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.
    28 people like this.
  34. May 20, 2013
  35. dunover

    dunover Unofficial T&C's Editor CAG PABnononaccred PABnonaccred mm3 webmeister

    International Money Launderer
    the bus shelter, opposite GCHQ Benhall

    Quoted text black, my comments blue:

    I must first make clear that, given our knowledge and experience of our licensees, their content suppliers and their
    testing/test house procedures, this case never had any of the dishonest elements referred to by the thread, which
    seemed to take over its focus, and were repeated in the thread and elsewhere as if established fact. Whilst we keep
    an open mind on such issues, and have seen in other jurisdictions that it is possible for dishonest operators or
    software producers to enter the remote gaming industry and thrive, in Gibraltar we proactively guard against this by
    a very restricted licensing policy (only 25 licensees, all leading European/US suppliers). As a consequence we are
    able to start from the position that all of the operators involved in this incident are well known to us, are well
    established and subject to respected corporate and personal licensing regimes here and/or elsewhere. That said, here
    and elsewhere, mistakes can happen, bugs do occur.

    So, being a 'well known name' means no mud can stick? Jimmy Savile was a 'well known and respected' name. Please.

    Equally so, it was apparent to us from the moment the ‘katie91’ thread was initiated that the author was involved in
    some form of fraudulent activity. The posting simply did not ring true and should have set off the alarm bells of
    any experienced reader or regulator. Again, that does not preclude the author from making accurate or useful
    observations, but what it does do is render his credibility and the credibility of his evidence as close to useless,
    especially in the context of regulatory action. Anything such a witness says has to be taken with a huge degree of
    scepticism. If you doubt this, play the facts back against yourself: you are wrongly accused of dishonesty by a
    person who is dishonest; how should the regulator react? Dishonest complainants get little sympathy from us, they
    are not a platform on which you can build regulatory action. Indeed, they mean you have to cross check and doubl
    check absolutely everything, because you don’t know where the lies start and end.

    Indeed the author thought he had spotted an opportunity with an 100% RTP game to use bonuses and mutliple accounts
    to gain free cash. He would have done if the game was playing according to the help file in the PFF version. So the
    author was bent. Bit like saying if a burglar in the act of breaking into a house spots a rape being committed, the
    rapist can't be guilty, or his guilt is lessened somewhat. Tosh.

    A third important element was the contributions to the thread by people with biased perspectives. This is why we
    asked Elliot to take it down (which he declined). The words ‘kangaroo court’, ‘hysterical witch-hunt’ and ‘stoking
    the flames’ come to mind when reading many contributions. This is aggravated by us knowing who some of the
    contributors are, the irregular practices some of them engage in themselves, and the agendas that some of them are
    pushing. These comments do not apply to all of the contributors, but many of them reading this will know that they
    too have ‘dirty hands’ in terms of their own account activities, or were pursuing private agendas rather than
    properly assessing the merits of the complaint.

    Ah, so two wrongs make a right? Deflection by mudslinging I call it.

    Fourthly we, as a public authority, must operate within the law. We must apply the rules of natural justice, and
    give any named parties accused of regulatory failings the opportunity to research and explain how and when the
    alleged failure occurred. We must then test and check that explanation, which is likely to lead to more questions,
    and the process may repeat itself a number of times as each party becomes satisfied that the explanation ‘makes
    sense’ and all other notions can be discounted. This process may also lead to us reviewing our own requirements in
    terms of how the game error got through the testing and reporting process and how we investigated it; indeed, due to
    a small but unacceptable number of incidents during in 2012 where game bugs were discovered or reported to us later
    than we expect, we have amended our own processes, as have a number of our operators. During the lifecycle of this
    complaint we have also had to deal with numerous other licensing cases and regulatory issues where those parties
    were at least equally able to claim our time and attention as were the drivers and issues in this matter.

    Ah, chat until a general consensus is reached and the story can be gotten straight.

    Turning to the game itself. We have had detailed and repeated conversations with all the suppliers involved and with
    advisers outside that circle. The origins of the discrepancy between Play for Real (PFR) and Play for Fun (PFF) and
    the paytable error on PFR rest in the creation of the games. The HiLo game was created in 2003/4 and is derived from
    a well established machine game. Reel Deal is a skin of the game and was created a few years later but uses the ame
    underlying programme. The games have always been supplied as PFF and PFR.

    In the period 2004 - 2008 and beyond there was no overt requirement by regulators for PFF and PFR to have identical
    features and performance. Indeed, in some jurisdictions this is still the case, but since 2008 more and more
    regulators have made this a stipulation, generally, with the alternative that if the games are not identical, this
    should be made apparent in the game rules. The upshot of this situation is that apparently identical games on PFF
    and PFR can have different performances if the rules make this clear. So differences are not absolutely disallowed,
    but they should be identifiable and should not mislead the player of the game in a material way. That said, most
    European licensed operators have moved towards making PFF and PFR ‘identical’ or as close to as practical.

    It must also be recognised that PFF is a relatively little used feature of most operator’s facilities when compared
    to PFR, and most if not all players realise that PFR games are weighted for the house to win overall, with most
    customers losing, and only a small number of customers making wins of any scale. Let us not delude ourselves that
    PFR games are designed so that the house doesn’t win but the players do. The reality is that the house, overall, and
    a small number of players, will win, the rest will lose.

    The original HiLo game used an RTP/maths methodology known as ‘Fixed Price’ but with different RTP and RNG’s for
    PFF (100%) and PFR(96%); in very simple terms, the PFR game logic amounted to each customer choice producing an RNG
    number between 1 and 10,000, with numbers below 4800 winning and numbers above, losing, creating 96% RTP entirely
    randomly and a house win of 4%; the PFF gave a 50:50 chance. The RNG’s themselves were different for PFF (Flash) and
    PFR (Server integrated) as the games did not need to be identical.
    In 2006 a second version of the game mechanic was produced but using a different game logic known as ‘Fixed Odds’.
    In this case the game logic for both versions was 50:50 on the player’s choice, but the payout for winners was less
    than evens, again producing an overall house win of 4%. As the payout was less than evens both PFF and PFR versions
    had RTP’s of 96% and the versions also used different RNG’s.

    Operators were able to offer either the Fixed Odds versions or the Fixed Price versions. Both games were in use
    with a very small number of operators.

    In use with very few operators? That's more by luck than design. PFR games are designed for the house to win
    overall? Well I never! PFF is little used? How do you know? There are no logs kept on free games for a start, and
    secondly I would say almost all players use free games to get a feel for the play, i.e. 'window shop' before they
    spend money. What a load of assumptive nonsense. The fact is if this were any industry operating in the UK under our
    direct laws, rather than a remote 'convenience' licensor, displaying one item and letting the customer buy it via
    that display, and supplying a different item would be illegal. The fact that this went undetected from 2008 at least
    until katie's post is disgraceful.

    We have studied the use of these games and in both versions, to the overwhelming majority of customers, they are low
    priority, low interest games, but they can produce a positive income stream to operators. I will also make the point
    at this stage that any material variation of theoretical RTP created by the game mechanic is invariably reflected
    only in how long the customer’s deposit lasts, rather than his or her eventual losses or winnings. Some players may
    end their game session ‘up’, but games like these, with low turnovers and relatively low prize values, do not
    produce, and bugs do not prevent, ‘jackpot winners’, because there are none in the game structure. These are ‘churn
    games’ played by legitimate players for entertainment, with occasional prizes, but overall with players re-spending
    and ultimately losing their deposits. Shading up and down the RTP only extends or shortens the play time, with the
    possibility of more players stopping playing or moving games whilst in credit the nearer the RTP is to 100%. Even
    with an RTP of 100%, every player will not win or even break even, though their money may last a little longer.

    Again, although this paragraph is true enough, some players quit while ahead and it goes without saying if you play
    on and on you will lose. What's the relevance?

    In the first instance, a decision was made to put all the game versions on the same server based RNG rather than
    using the Flash version for PFF. The RNG change was done successfully. However, when it was done, the PFF on the
    Fixed Price version still operated at 100% RTP game logic, as it had been assumed at the time of this change that
    all the games used the same game logic (96%). Whilst this error made no difference to the random performance of the
    games, it meant the Fixed Price versions continued with different RTP’s.
    Subsequently, the content of the games’ paytables were upgraded from static to dynamic. This was when a second
    error occurred. Both Fixed Price Help Files were linked to the PFF outcomes (100%) and so the Fixed Price Help File
    indicated that both versions had an RTP of 100%, when PFF was still 100% and PFR was 96%. This meant that, as was
    alleged by Katie91, a player could form the belief that the PFR game had an RTP of 100%. As I have already said,
    whilst this is a technical possibility, it is a commercial ‘impossibility’, it would be an error, as a PFR game
    returning 100% would be doomed to commercial failure. Katie91 sought to exploit this error and complained when his
    bot produced large losses.

    This contradicts what you state above, "Even with an RTP of 100%, every player will not win or even break even,
    though their money may last a little longer" In fact a 100% RTP would mean all players break even over a period of
    time, and with the example of '10,000 outcomes in the RNG'you gave it would be quite quick compared to a slot. All
    katie did was deposit based on a false description, whatever 'her' intentions. This shows the GRA's naivety.

    Now my analysis and explanation is not going to please those who felt they had a fox (or a fix) in their sights, but
    in our view katie91, who we have spoken to and has admitted his actions, used false details to ‘multi-account’, and
    was using a bot, indeed, he writes and sells bots, so he was knowingly and deliberately in breach of the operator’s
    T&C’s on at least two significant matters, in an effort to obtain money in a way he knew he was not entitled to. If
    katie91 had used his real identity he would have run the risk of being declined or discovered; if he had asked ‘can
    I use a bot’ he would have been declined; so the katie91 account should never have existed, the game play should
    never have taken place. katie91 is the ‘villain of the piece’ whereas the thread held ‘her’ up as some kind of
    puritan victim of a corporate conspiracy. These were not minor breaches of T&C’s, they are fundamentals. If you want
    to support other players making fundamental breaches of T&C’s in order to win, or make them yourself, then you are
    asking for the end of the legitimate industry.

    Well, it's a bloody good job the katie91 account DID exist! As for the chicken and the egg aspect, katie91 only
    existed BECAUSE of the wrong game file. This is more obfuscation with smoke and mirrors; the game was wrongly
    misdescribed. Also, I must point out katie91 is not attempting to sell the gambling public online games nor is 'she'
    bound by GRA terms. It seems your whole foundation for defending the operators is that they 'poached from a poacher'.

    In dealing with the operators, we have expressed our disappointment to them that the game carried the defect. We
    have reiterated our policy of ‘bugs may happen, but they must not happen very often, or else’. The ‘or else’ being a
    ramping up of expensive testing processes to higher levels, delays or down time for games, lost revenues, weaker
    offers, nothing gained by anyone, as bugs will still occur. We have also reminded intermediary suppliers of games
    who perform upgrades that when things go wrong, liability isn’t split, it is multiplied – everyone in the supply
    chain has to take responsibility, not just the writer, not just the intermediary and not just the front end operator.

    They have all taken a hit from this

    Finally, whilst there are 60+ pages of thread to respond to, I am not going to do that. It is unfortunate that we
    have taken 4 months to publish our conclusions, but the game was taken down as soon as the error was discovered and
    we have had to work through the unlikely explanations and discount them, as well as the likely explanations and
    confirm them. The customer loss/operator gain is not significant and we see no case for reimbursements; the supply
    parties have been disturbed by the case and have felt the discomfort of regulatory interventions. You might want to
    dissect my points and continue to debate the issue, but the case is now closed, everyone needs to learn from it and
    move on.

    Wow! If ever a paragraph showed the massive schism between the public and stuffed suits this is it.
    You've 'expressed your disappointment'. I'm sure that has the operators quaking. 4 years plus this 'error' occurred
    and you're 'disappointed'!

    They've all 'taken a hit' from this. Crikey, they may have even had to take a strongly-worded letter or e-mail too.

    The last piece is truly shocking. 'Customer loss/operator gain is insignificant'. Insignificant to whom? So one
    customer loses 10k and overall that's very significant. If 100 customers lose 100 each, then that's not significant?
    I don't understand the logic here - a thief is not a thief if the amount he steals is 'insignificant', is that what
    you're assuming? So, you're admitting the operator made an 'insignificant sum' from this error. And no loss to them
    as a result.

    This demonstrates how on every occasion the GRA merely chooses to place more emphasis on those buying
    licences rather than players, and the default mode of thought is that 'the customer is always wrong'.

    I would summarize this by stating that the GRA's have neither the wherewithal to understand issues nor the will to
    protect those which fund the whole damn industry, viz-a-viz the players. I can only hope that in future UK customers
    can only play at UK licensed casinos whereby the licensor is also in the UK and not offshore, and those licensors
    are compiled from the necessary elements of software analysts, legal experts, mathematicians and players'
    representatives so that a proper system of timely analysis of problems and complaints can be mooted which caters for
    all sides.

    So we are left, as before, with a situation where the player solely relies on the integrity of the casino and little else.
    Last edited: May 20, 2013
    8 people like this.
  36. May 20, 2013
  37. mattsgame

    mattsgame Ueber Meister CAG webmeister

    Web Master
    Clown Town
    Firstly I am going to reiterate my thread Losing My Faith in The Industry

    I was going to write a large post but most of what I am thinking has already been said.

    What a load of word spinning, off focus deflecting crap. They haven't addressed any of the issues that were raised in the thread including Elliot's summary of the game itself. It is all about the player and other mumbo jumbo, like trying to tell us how RTP works :confused: and players wouldn't have lost out.

    The GRA have done no one in this situation any favours, Betfred, Finsoft and themselves look worse and more and more like a farce or they seriously think we are all fools. Anyway, thanks for putting it up Bryan, what is your own conclusion?
  38. May 20, 2013
  39. daywalker

    daywalker Dormant account

    So because katie91 was guilty of multi-accounting and using a bot they think it's fair to let it all be swept under the carpet and let the casinos and software operators off with nothing more than a don't let it happen again warning?
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