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Decision on Borgata Counterfeit Chip Investigation is Here! DGE Ends Waiting Game

Wendeen H. Eolis

Wendeen H. Eolis

By Wendeen H. Eolis

Minutes ago, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reported  at its website its  final order arising from its investigation of the Borgata counterfeit chip debacle in January of this year. Last Friday  PPN  provided an overview of the outcome of the order which was in place. then and has  been disclosed to the public, today.  To summarize: counterfeit chips were introduced into the Borgata Winter Open tournament's first event. The DGE canceled the event upon determining it had been compromised and has scrutinized the entire matter coming up with the terse order that can be seen here: The terse order can be seen here:

http://www.nj.gov/oag/ge/2014news/BorgataWinterPokerOpenFinalOrder.pdf

The Borgata has issued a statement that fleshes out the order, providing details concerning disbursement of monies.  It clarifies that players who did not cash, but may have been affected by the introduction of counterfeit chips will be refunded  their relevant  buy-ins; players who did not cash and were never exposed to the introduction of the counterfeit chips will not receive any refunds, whatsoever.  Players who were awarded prize monies but didn't pick up  their pay will also get their monies. The full Borgata statement can be seen here:

http://blog.theborgata.com/

Borgata Senior VP,  Joe Lupo,  is quoted as explaining  that the Company is distributing all of the unpaid prize pool money and also voluntarily disbursing to players the revenues earned from buy-in fees. While the DGE order includes the latter, a reading of the order confirms that the revenues earned by Borgata  that were included in the disbrsements came about from consultation with Borgata and not from an independent order on the part of the DGE.

Predictions:This means some 2100+ of the 2800+ players (for the 4800+ buy-ins)  in the tournament will probably be pretty happy,  presumably as  will those who cashed down through 28th place who have been or will be paid per the advertised allocation of prize monies. They all earned their awards prior to a determination of a compromised tournament.   Additionally, those in the second and third tier of the top 27, will probably  find the payout livable as the disbursement is equal or greater than  the original allocation for those spots.  As to the top nine, sparks are sure to fly, but as to whether it will be sound and fury signifying nothing or a colossal headache for DGE and Borgata remains to be seen.

It should be noted  DGE's delay in getting out its report after it allowed  many people to learn that it had been completed resulted in massive leakage, and significant misinformation that circulated for days. This state of affairs did  not help to soothe ruffled feathers of those who are unhappy.

Last Friday all eyes were on the DGE after the regulators sent up white smoke signals that resulted in alerting  executives at multiple casinos of an imminent decision.   By late afternoon the smoke turned gray—without explanation. No announcement materialized until today.   DGE’s further delay was almost inevitable, given its history in this matter; over the past weeks there have been several false alarms of an imminent announcement sounded by  DGE to many parties with close ties to the regulators.

No matter how well reasoned by DGE  the last bit of delay left Borgata personnel with their hands full--not only with new procedures but also with an onlslaught of queries  by frustrated tournament players--the entire weekend. 

Was the DGE miffed by news of their deliberations leaking out to the public (against their preference) slightly before they were to take the stage?  

Did the DGE deliberately encourage the leakage so as to the take the temperature in the tournament room at the Borgata before coming forward publicly with their pronouncements?

Or did they just bungle their own planned timetable by missing critical details that had to be put in place in their report?  

These were the questions buzzing around the Borgata this past weekend as players became increasingly impatient  over their  inability to get clear cut answers. 

To their credit, the DGE’s deliberations have reportedly included painstaking review of Borgata surveillance tapes and administrative documentation as well as broader investigation by crackerjack sleuths. Extensive research of other tournaments including the actual outcomes for players in the top 27 places  has also been said to have been part of the process in considering the most appropriate resolution.

"The result of DGE and Borgata's laborious effort to piece together as many relevant facts as possible  has been a carefully considered resolution—regardless of whether or not one agrees with the DGE’s conclusions,"  insists one  knowledgeable New Jersey admitted lawyer who has served  as a judge.  Another lawyer, an AMLAW 100  litigator who had more than in inkling of the deliberations  adds, "The results reflect  an amazing amount of research which is why the matter has taken so long to consider." He believes the decision takes into account relevant law, common sense and real practicalities in a very difficult situation."

Based on conversations heard at the Borgata, this past weekend, it would seem likely that the  decision  will guarantee a very long, loud debate among poker pros and tournament directors across the country.

Come back to PPN for commentary, analysis and plenty on the back story in the coming days.

Editor’s Note: Wendeen Eolis is CEO of EOLIS, a legal consultancy with a specialty in the gaming space. She has served as an advisor to Mayor Rudy Giuliani and as 1st Asst. to Governor George Pataki with responsibility for gaming issues in her portfolio. She was the first woman to cash in the main event at the World Series of Poker. See her wikipedia listing, and eolis.com press clip index for more information. This article is her exclusive property. She can be reached at:eolis@eolis.comTwitter Facebook and LinkedIn or at the website: www.eolis.com.

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