An investigation into poker tournament irregularities that took place at the Hialeah Park Racing & Casino, a Florida casino has revealed that the casino is guilty of 11 gaming violations. State authorities have confirmed in their report that the casino manipulated its poker tournament figures.
The Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering launched the investigation into Hialeah’s $200,000 guaranteed event held in August 2015 after it received complaints from players in September 2015 about a number of discrepancies in the tournament. The event was held to celebrate the casino’s two-year anniversary and was the promoted as the largest poker tournament to have been hosted by the casino.
The issue was first raised by a poster on the popular TwoPlusTwo poker forum as well as by South Florida Poker Players Association (SFPPA) on its Facebook page. They both claimed that the prize pool displayed at the tournament did not match the number of players registered. The players had paid $250 per head for entry but the chip totals did not match that amount, implying that extra players had joined for free. Other allegations included that the players were told to sit at specific tables rather than at random. The casino is also accused of not providing players with structure sheets.
Taking serious note of these concerns, the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering decided to investigate the operations of the casino. The results of the investigation were released on the 29th of Dec 2015 and confirmed that the casino had violated 11 gaming violations. The majority of these violations relate to improper accounting, mainly in its August 2015 tournament.
The report found that surveillance video in the casino did not cover the poker room completely, including areas where cash was handled. It has further reported that 13 players who had won at the tournament were not issued receipts on collecting their winnings at the cashier’s cage. State investigators also found that the surveillance videos were not preserved, tournament records were not kept for three years as required by rules and jackpot accounts were not maintained. Hialeah is yet to release the names of the tournament winners and the pay-outs in the tournament.
The casino has until January 18 to respond to the report and its findings. In case the Hialeah casino chooses to challenge the findings related to its August 2015 poke tournament, it will need to respond with a counter to refuse these charges and a final decision will be made based on evidence provided. If the casino does not file a counter, it is likely to face penalties that can range from monetary fines to suspension of its gaming licence.