According to a report by Howard Stutz of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB) is looking into the relationship between Ultimate Poker and iovation, the company that provided Ultimate Poker with identity verification services until last Thursday.
Ultimate Poker became the first legal and regulated online poker room to go live in Nevada, launching April 30th. Though nobody is expecting player traffic records to be broken, particularly since the customer base is limited to only those people within state borders, its arrival was applauded by the poker community. Much of that applause quickly died, though, as when some people began having registration problems, they received an error message that showed the iovation name. For some, that meant nothing, but for others, it meant everything.
iovation was the company that provided the software for the now-defunct UltimateBet. Its CEO is Greg Pierson, one of the principals involved in the “God Mode” cheating scandal at UltimateBet that rocked the poker world five years ago.
This link, understandably, created quite the uproar, elevating concerns about the security of Ultimate Poker. People were worried that Pierson and his cohorts might be involved somehow with the company or, if they were not, they were able to see the personal information of players, including social security numbers, that was being sent to iovation for verification. At the very least, the poker community didn’t like the idea that the UltimateBet thieves would be making money off of regulated online poker in Nevada.
Aside from the unfortunate name similarity there does not appear to be any formal ties between Ultimate Poker and UltimateBet. Ultimate Poker’s parent, Ultimate Gaming, is majority owned by Stations Casinos.
Hearing the complaints from poker players, a representative of Ultimate Poker announced on Two Plus Two over the weekend that, as of last Thursday, the company was no longer using the services of iovation.
All of the commotion and industry coverage of the Ultimate Poker/iovation issue caught the attention of GCB. GCB Chairman A.G. Burnett e-mailed the Review-Journal’s Stutz that gaming agents are talking to officials from Ultimate Poker about its dealings with iovation. Burnett also confirmed what had already been discussed on poker message boards and in the poker media, that iovation was not a licensed service provider in the Silver State, but was instead a subcontractor of a company called CAMS, which is licensed.
It is up to Ultimate Poker to vet potential service partners, Burnett said. “This is in the category of where the ultimate responsibility rests upon the licensee (Ultimate Gaming), and I know that they are addressing the issue.”
“We, in turn, will analyze what we received back from Ultimate, and then decide how to proceed from here,” he told Stutz.