After the compound Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet scandals, their regulating entity had come into question. To appease public opinion, the Kahnawake Commission has commissioned an independent monitoring team to evaluate Tokwiro Enterprises, but it appears that there are questions about the independence of this monitor.

A few days ago, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission released a statement on its appointment of an independent investigation team led by former New Jersey State Gaming Regulator, Frank Catania. This team would carry out a thorough investigation of Tokwiro Enterprises, owner of compromised sites Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet. These are the main points of the KGC's statement:

  • “Effective immediately, the Kahnawa:ke Gaming Commission (KGC) has appointed an independent monitor, led by Frank Catania, to investigate the KGC Licensee, Tokwiro Ent.”
  • Mr. Catania is an experienced, skilled and qualified gaming controller and enforcer, with experience as Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement as well as vice president of Players International, Inc. and a principal in Catania Gaming Consultants and the Law Offices of Catania & Associates LLC.
  • The main purpose of the investigation is to ensure fairness and transparency, and to confirm that all of the KGC’s requirements for player protection are in place. 
  • Another objective is to ensure that all people who have been in any way involved with the fraudulent behavior have been removed from the company.
  • To ensure Mr. Catania’s team gets the utmost compliance and access to “interview all employees, past or present, review all records, contact and interview all sub contractors and individuals,” the KCG will revoke Tokwiro’s licensing privileges in the face of any withholding of information or noncompliance.
  • “KGC License Holder, Tokwiro Enterprises has agreed to comply fully and submit to this independent monitor.”

It looks very good on paper, with KGC’s Chairman Dean Montour declaring that, “we are fully confident in the ability of the Independent Monitoring Team to deliver results and assist the Commission in bringing this matter to a decisive conclusion.”

There is only one little detail: Mr. Catania is not a perfectly independent investigator – he has been involved with the KGC at an early stage of its inception, when he contributed to the development of the Commission’s regulations.

While this, on its own, is enough to raise questions about Catania’s impartiality and fitness for the role, the KGC’s failure to mention this on their release raises even more serious questions: do they really intend to seriously investigate Tokwiro Enterprises, or is this more of a “cosmetic” move?

We will keep you updated of any developments on this issue.

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