Tusk investments - anyone owed anything?

Casinomeister

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This just in:
Tusk Investment Corporation

(In Liquidation)
international company number: 28453

We refer to the appointment of Grant Dene Sparks and Raymond William Richards as Joint and Several Liquidators of the abovenamed company on 6 March 2008, and advise that the corporations creditors are located throughout the world and our detailed report to creditors can be accessed from the link set out below:



We understand that you may have a creditors claim against this company.

Should you have any queries in relation to this matter, please contact our office via the following means:-

Email: tusk@ppb.com.au; or
Telephone: +61 7 3831 2700

DATED: this 18th day of March 2009

Grant Sparks and Ray Richards

Joint & Several Liquidators

If you're a webmaster still owed by these guys, here's a point of contact.
 
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Tengil

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Players can expect to get some 20% back. Sucks especially for those who had several hundred thousands there.

And the PDF that is private and confidential, its posted on a public webpage:p

The only winner seems to be SimsPartners. Grant Sparks and Ray Richards both charged over 400AUD/hour.

Edit: There are over 3000 creditors of which the vast majority are players.

Further edit: The biggest single balance is somewhere around 650k. Ouch.
 
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Tengil

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Wonder if MG will ever comment on this?

And some wonder why there arent any high stakes games going on at Prima..
 

pokeraddict

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Wonder if MG will ever comment on this?

And some wonder why there arent any high stakes games going on at Prima..

Yes this has devastated Microgaming's reputation in online poker. A year later it is hard to believe they still have no real comment and no real assurance that this will be handled the right way.
 

Tengil

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Yes this has devastated Microgaming's reputation in online poker. A year later it is hard to believe they still have no real comment and no real assurance that this will be handled the right way.

I guess they have seen how little publicity it has gotten, the only thing being a thread at 2+2. No one seems to care even if we are talking about several millions.

Even if much is hearsay MGs actions (mainly lack of it) casts a very shady light on them. Starting by the unwillingness to cooperate with the liquidators.

Edit: Just remembered that the Primarep posted in the thread at 2+2 acting like he would be an "outsider" until he was outed by Pokeraddict. What a class act..
 
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Mousey

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Yes this has devastated Microgaming's reputation in online poker. A year later it is hard to believe they still have no real comment and no real assurance that this will be handled the right way.

OK... Tusk is who? what? An MG poker room that folded? The name rings a tiny bell... Wait... is this something to do with when Casino Action went belly up, then 'merged' (or whatever term you wish) with Casino Rewards? :confused:

So... that didn't take care of the poker rooms and the players?? If I'm getting warm here, that is such a crappy thing to happen.
 

Tengil

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OK... Tusk is who? what? An MG poker room that folded? The name rings a tiny bell... Wait... is this something to do with when Casino Action went belly up, then 'merged' (or whatever term you wish) with Casino Rewards? :confused:

So... that didn't take care of the poker rooms and the players?? If I'm getting warm here, that is such a crappy thing to happen.

Note: all amounts quoted are in AUD (at least thats what I understood so dont take it for granted)

Correct. There isnt actually any good article that would include every twist and turn. Thats a big reason IMO why this havent gotten the publicity it should.

The casinos didnt actually have that big liabilities (about $265k) and their assets were valued at $550k. So CR got them quite cheap ($815k).

The poker skins (28 skins in total) were a different case tough. Amounts owed were significantly higher. Player purse $5,312k, affiliate balances $1,450k (I assume most is the skin owners balances) and trade creditors $2,000k adding up to a total of $8,762k.

Currently the liquidation is still in progress but its unlikely that they will be able to realise more than $1,300k-1,700k.

So the players will take a huge hit, the most common assumption being that they will get 20cent for a dollar. MG has been totally quiet and at one point via a lawyer stated that they will not step up and cover any balances.

This isnt much of information but gives some clues of the amounts.

I think Pokeraddict would be more suited to give a better overview. Basically the only information you can get is from the 2+2 thread (over 3200 posts). It can be found over here:
You do not have permission to view link Log in or register now.
 

RobWin

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Note: all amounts quoted are in AUD (at least thats what I understood so dont take it for granted)

Correct. There isnt actually any good article that would include every twist and turn. Thats a big reason IMO why this havent gotten the publicity it should.

The casinos didnt actually have that big liabilities (about $265k) and their assets were valued at $550k. So CR got them quite cheap ($815k).

The poker skins (28 skins in total) were a different case tough. Amounts owed were significantly higher. Player purse $5,312k, affiliate balances $1,450k (I assume most is the skin owners balances) and trade creditors $2,000k adding up to a total of $8,762k.

Currently the liquidation is still in progress but its unlikely that they will be able to realise more than $1,300k-1,700k.

So the players will take a huge hit, the most common assumption being that they will get 20cent for a dollar. MG has been totally quiet and at one point via a lawyer stated that they will not step up and cover any balances.
This isnt much of information but gives some clues of the amounts.

I think Pokeraddict would be more suited to give a better overview. Basically the only information you can get is from the 2+2 thread (over 3200 posts). It can be found over here:
You do not have permission to view link Log in or register now.

If that's the case then this is really going to look bad on Microgaming the Company and will most likey trickle down to ultimately affect the operators as well in the long term.
 

Tengil

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If that's the case then this is really going to look bad on Microgaming the Company and will most likey trickle down to ultimately affect the operators as well in the long term.

It was actually one players, who has 384k stuck, father (who is a lawyer) that sent a fax telling that he intended to file a lawsuit against them. He was contacted the same day by a lawfirm in Toronto where they denied all claims and saying they were just the software provider. This was 8 months ago.

Thats the only reply anyone has gotten from MG in the whole time. And that was on the same day and through a local lawyer.

I think that they (creditors) should hire someone to write good articles which would sum up the whole thing and contain all the facts. Some well written articles would be a much better way to get peoples attention than a single thread at 2+2.
 

Mellowman307

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I have been an active participant in the 2+2 thread.

There is no evidence that Microgaming has not cooperated with the Liquidators, on the contrary the sum that Microgaming held for Tusk has been turned over to the Liquidators as noted in the Report to Creditors.

In addition, Microgaming issued several press releases initially and the final press release indicated that Microgaming would comment further when the Liquidators were done.

The Liquidators have not been forthcoming with anyone who has queried the progress of the liquidation so why does anyone assume that they have spoken to Microgaming about the progress?

If Microgaming requires annual financial statements from their operators the soonest they would have known that Tusk was in trouble would have been when they recieved the June 30, 2007 statement, ie Oct/Nov 2007 as the June 30, 2006 statements show that Tusk was profitable at that time.

When Tusk was in the casino business with just one poker room their profits averaged $23.5K/ month. It wasn't until they expanded into the white label skins that they started to lose $150K+/month.

The owner of Battlefield Poker has just admitted that Tusk owed him $1M+.
It is only reasonable to assume that he knew Tusk was in financial trouble long before anyone else was aware.

And no I'm not affiliated with Microgaming other than as a player, but my background includes being a Bank Manager and I am fully conversant with financial statements, liquidations, etc.

In my opinion, if you rely on others to do your "due diligence" when considering depositing in any poker room and things go wrong, don't look around to see who's got the deepest pockets and then try and attach blame to them.
 

vinylweatherman

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The big problem for MGS here is that there has been a long standing belief among players that there was some kind of "bail-out fund" to cover player balances as a last resort. This episode has shown this to be myth & legend, and not fact. This is the FIRST time the ball has landed in MGS's court, and stayed there. In previous instances, players have been "bailed out" because MGS and any liquidators had been able to sell on the casinos in deals that preserve player balances. In the case of the Casino Action casinos, this is what happened after only a couple of months in limbo. Loyalty points were the only asset players lost, but I lost a mere 20, as I had converted the lot only a few days before (and damn lucky too). I had also withdrawn 2200 by instant Neteller payment in the two days leading up to them going bust (when MGS froze the casinos). I was pretty damn lucky:)

The problem has been with Poker. MGS have now established that poker balances are NOT any safer with MGS than with any other lesser software vendor. It is no wonder that high rollers are reluctant to hold large balances within any of the Prima skins, especially in the current economic climate.
This is not to suggest any other poker network is inherently safer, it all depends on whether the skin you are using is solvent - not something that is all that easy to determine except for the publicly listed companies. Bearing in mind, of course, that the Tusk reports for 2006 gave no warning of what was coming, and only "insiders" would have seen that something bad was unfolding.

As a player, all I noticed was that the casinos were becoming "stale", running the same 2 tournaments, and little in the way of the "jam" promised at the Platinum Elite "do" in Vegas. It turned out that Vinoka & team got the push shortly after, but I didn't make a connection between this, and them going bust the following March. Maybe they were trying to use the casinos to prop up the poker skins, but were fighting a losing battle if poker losses were 5x the casino profits.

MGS will again be under the spotlight once the liquidators declare the process complete, as they will no longer be able to say they are awaiting the outcome of the liquidation. They can be questioned on their position at any of the industry shows that happen after the liquidation is complete - they will find it harder to hide behind their corporate fence, although I expect all they will say is that they will pass the question back to head office.

The faster those owed put their claims in, the faster this liquidation will reach a conclusion. Making a claim now will also show that due process has been followed should there later prove to be a chink in MGS's armour that might allow for a claim to them for the remaining 80%.
Since the Prima network is still running, and presumably making a profit, it might be possible to argue that the Prima network itself is liable for any funds not recovered from the skins, which is probably the tack being taken by those few poker players who have consulted lawyers. MGS's statement is a standard denial of liability, and is simply a legal move that any defending lawyer will advise a client to make. Liability will be decided in court, and may be based on whether there was negligence on the part of any MGS employee or entity, that left players in the dark as to the safety, or otherwise, of their funds.
 

Mellowman307

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Not likely that any litigation against Microgaming would succeed when all players agreed to this clause upon downloading the software.


5. Limitation of Liability
5.1. In no event will Microgaming or its licensees be liable to you for any consequential, indirect, pure economic, or incidental damages, or for any lost profits or lost savings, even if a Microgaming representative has been advised of the possibility of such loss, damages, claims, or costs, or for any claim by any third party. Microgamings aggregate liability and that of its supplies under or in connection with this agreement shall be limited to the amount paid for the software, if any. Nothing contained in this agreement limits Microgamings liability to you in the event of death or personal injury arising from Microgamings negligence.
 

Tengil

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What I dont understand is why the liquidators didnt set any timeframe to submit the proof of debt? Those with very small balances are quite unlikely to even bother. But after all they are the only winners in this case.

Still the one to ultimately blame on is the management of Tusk.

And I didnt have any funds at any of the skins.

What is also worth mentioning is that even if MG would cover any balances (unlikely and they dont have to) the players have still lost their RB. So as mellowman said choose wisely were to play, dont just look at how high RB you will get.
 

winbig

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Nothing contained in this agreement limits Microgamings liability to you in the event of death or personal injury arising from Microgamings negligence.


wtf...?!?

So I guess they're covering their asses in case someone tries to or succeeds in killing themselves over losing everything? :eek:
 

Mellowman307

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wtf...?!?

So I guess they're covering their asses in case someone tries to or succeeds in killing themselves over losing everything? :eek:


Quite the opposite actually.

If Microgaming is proved negligent in causing injury or death, you can still sue them.

Not that I see that happening very often.


"Yes, Your Honour, the software hung causing my mouse to severely bite me!"
 

GrandMaster

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I don't know which country's law was supposed to apply (Vanuatu's?), but under English law, liability for personal injury or death caused by negligence cannot be excluded, so it is nice of them for not even trying.
 

vinylweatherman

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I don't know which country's law was supposed to apply (Vanuatu's?), but under English law, liability for personal injury or death caused by negligence cannot be excluded, so it is nice of them for not even trying.


A lot more than this could be struck out. This is a CONSUMER contract, player to casino. A player could ask that the clause allowing their OWN DEPOSITED FUNDS to be uncovered in all events be struck out as unfair under CONSUMER contract law. This would open the way for a suit under terms amended by the court, where damages could be claimed if MGS were negligent, and if a different course of action from MGS could have "rescued" player funds from the meltdown.
There are a few players with serious money lost in the mess, and these are the ones likely to bring such an action, but will have to wait until the liquidators have finished. This case is likely to drag on for several YEARS, and Prima are always going to be in the firing line so long as they keep trading and have assets that can be seized by any successful damages action.

MGS have blown wide open the implicit "player protection trust" with this case, but MGS have also been careful that this never appeared anywhere in an explicit form, and we only have what happened before to go on.

Given the effort that went into pursuing Absolute Poker, Prima and MGS are unlikely to see this issue simply die a slow death UNTIL players feel they have had a fair settlement.

The fact this hot debate has erupted again after a near 2 year quiessent period has demonstrated this.
 

rikkerbuddy

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battle field poker

I know Battle field poker still owes me about 2k -- I have written it off - but who knows 30% of 2k will get me a drink or two;)
 

Tengil

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A lot more than this could be struck out. This is a CONSUMER contract, player to casino. A player could ask that the clause allowing their OWN DEPOSITED FUNDS to be uncovered in all events be struck out as unfair under CONSUMER contract law. This would open the way for a suit under terms amended by the court, where damages could be claimed if MGS were negligent, and if a different course of action from MGS could have "rescued" player funds from the meltdown.
There are a few players with serious money lost in the mess, and these are the ones likely to bring such an action, but will have to wait until the liquidators have finished. This case is likely to drag on for several YEARS, and Prima are always going to be in the firing line so long as they keep trading and have assets that can be seized by any successful damages action.

MGS have blown wide open the implicit "player protection trust" with this case, but MGS have also been careful that this never appeared anywhere in an explicit form, and we only have what happened before to go on.

Given the effort that went into pursuing Absolute Poker, Prima and MGS are unlikely to see this issue simply die a slow death UNTIL players feel they have had a fair settlement.

The fact this hot debate has erupted again after a near 2 year quiessent period has demonstrated this.

MG certainly has a responsibility in this case. Players are told to do their due diligence, shouldnt software providers do it too? After all they were happy to collect rake all the time:rolleyes: Also when "hell broke loose" the Prima rep was posting in the 2+2 thread acting like an outsider.

Also some skin owners claimed that they were directed to TUSK by MG.

Players are rightfully pissed off and are bombarding MG with emails, planning smear campaigns etc
 

Tengil

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Some further toughts about responsibility. Mainly the affiliates responsibility.

Why did players believe that MG network was safe and that MG would bail them out when a licensee goes belly up?
From whom had they heard this? From the affiliates of course.
Not bashing the affiliates, just showing that they should be careful what they say as many players take it for the truth.

BTW Caruso has written an article of this which is the best summary I have seen.
 

Pinababy69

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Some further toughts about responsibility. Mainly the affiliates responsibility.

Why did players believe that MG network was safe and that MG would bail them out when a licensee goes belly up?
From whom had they heard this? From the affiliates of course.
Not bashing the affiliates, just showing that they should be careful what they say as many players take it for the truth.

BTW Caruso has written an article of this which is the best summary I have seen.

IMO, I think players believed that MG would bail them out, because they have done so in the past when a licensee has gone belly up, more than once in fact. However, this was with casino clients as opposed to poker, and I have absolutely no idea as to what the total sum (in dollars) of those "bailouts" was. They are referenced in Caruso's article however...maybe I'll go back and take a look at them, and try to refresh my memory.

Agreed on Caruso's write up, it summarizes things pretty well. I know that I personally could not wade through that entire thread at 2+2...it's well over 3,000 posts. This write-up gives a good synopsis. I won't post the link, given the history involved here....but if anyone is interested in reading it, please PM me and I'll give you the link.
 

Tengil

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IMO, I think players believed that MG would bail them out, because they have done so in the past when a licensee has gone belly up, more than once in fact. However, this was with casino clients as opposed to poker, and I have absolutely no idea as to what the total sum (in dollars) of those "bailouts" was. They are referenced in Caruso's article however...maybe I'll go back and take a look at them, and try to refresh my memory.

Agreed on Caruso's write up, it summarizes things pretty well. I know that I personally could not wade through that entire thread at 2+2...it's well over 3,000 posts. This write-up gives a good synopsis. I won't post the link, given the history involved here....but if anyone is interested in reading it, please PM me and I'll give you the link.

It was mainly directed towards the big poker affiliates. They are the ones who told how safe the network was. Some of them even posted in the 2+2 thread ensuring players that MG would step up and bail them out in a few weeks. That was almost a year ago..

I still have some hopes that MG will step up and do the right thing after the liquidation is finished. But thats not going to happen if the big names in the industry wont apply pressure on them.
 

vinylweatherman

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IMO, I think players believed that MG would bail them out, because they have done so in the past when a licensee has gone belly up, more than once in fact. However, this was with casino clients as opposed to poker, and I have absolutely no idea as to what the total sum (in dollars) of those "bailouts" was. They are referenced in Caruso's article however...maybe I'll go back and take a look at them, and try to refresh my memory.

Agreed on Caruso's write up, it summarizes things pretty well. I know that I personally could not wade through that entire thread at 2+2...it's well over 3,000 posts. This write-up gives a good synopsis. I won't post the link, given the history involved here....but if anyone is interested in reading it, please PM me and I'll give you the link.

MGS had better watch their backs then, there is the principle of "common law" or "case law", where legal precedent is set by what has gone before. Poker players who lost money could sue based on "reasonable expectation" that what had happend before would apply in the future. MGS could be held liable for NOT making it clear enough that this would NOT apply to certain situations. Affiliates may also have been basing THEIR assurances on what had gone before.
MGS are losers here, not of money (yet), but of trust. We now have an incident where MGS have FAILED to honour the understanding that player's funds are 100% secure, and for this, MGS will NEVER AGAIN attract the blind faith among the player community that their funds are 100% safe. They have lost what was a unique selling point to players, that MGS was somehow a special software, whose supplier operated a guarantee ( or bail out ) for when individual licensees failed to honour their commitments.

I used to believe in this MGS bail-out guanrantee, but now I don't. I do not even believe it will necessarily apply even to CASINOS in the future, as such a future bail-out of a casino will make them vulnerable to lawsuits from POKER players who will base their case on this one incident being singled out without any real reason for this being so. MGS will have to defend by showing the TUSK poker skins were somehow different, and legally, they are BOTH "online gambling", and would come under the same set of laws.
 

Mellowman307

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I think it highly unlikely that MGS will be coming to the rescue.

I believe I have seen written somewhere that the MGS "Casino" licensing fees were about $400K at the time of the 2001 and 2002 bailouts.

I have also seen written that MGS licensing fees for a "Poker Room" are approx $150K

The average "Casino" player does not leave large sums in their "Casino" account.

Its commonly recommended that a poker player have on deposit: Ring games 20 buyins, STT's/MTT's 100 buyins.

In the Tusk situation this seems to be borne out "Casino" players purse under $200K, "Poker Room" players purse $5.3M. When you compare the licensing fee to the size of the player's purse it becomes pretty obvious to me at least that if you haven't "earned" the license fee why you might put a portion of it into a Trustee's hands to protect the players.

I also believe that MGS prompted the formation of eCOGRA after the undisclosed amount it contributed to the 2001/2002 bailouts, perhaps to forestall ever having to provide bailouts in the future.

Based on the profitability of publicly listed network gaming providers, I would think that the $5.3M players purse represents more than 1 years net profit for MGS's poker network and a number of years net revenue from the Tusk poker room.

MGS corporate business strategy seems in my opinion to be oriented towards firstly "Casino" operators who want to offer poker as an option to the "Casino" customer, secondly to "Sports Book" operators who want to offer casino and poker to their clientele and finally to the primarily poker room operators who want to offer a casino.

If you have ever dealt with the support personnel at any of the sites I think you may concur with this last opinion. Currently, the only site on the MGS poker network where the CS can actually deal with a poker oriented situation is Eurolinx. Every other site I've dealt with has to refer the situation to the poker department.

Just my .02 worth but does provide some food for thought.
 
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