The more we look into this mess, the more clearly we see that there is no regulation to speak of. This is even more disturbing knowing that Mario Galea, chairman of the Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority; widely regarded as nothing more than a rubber stamping, license fee collecting, player ignoring organisation has been appointed as Online Gaming Adviser for New Jersey casinos. The future of online gambling regulation looks more grim with every passing development as most players held out hope that the vigor and fervor of Nevada and NJ enforcement would find its way online. Sadly that seems to not be the case.

Following the player messages boards we see that  BetFred may have known about the Hi-Lo Gambler issue as long ago as 2008. We say, “may have known” as there is only a copied post from a private forum to back up this claim. However, we do find a confirm-able statement from a Stan James Representative in regards to another GTech game  HERE from April of 2012 stating,

“We have referred this issue to the game supplier for further testing to find out exactly what the situation with demo/real play is, and if indeed there is an issue. If any issue is confirmed, we will of course work with the supplier to rectify it as soon as possible.”

The game referenced in that quote was Triple Chance Hi-lo from Dynamite Idea, a Spielo/GTechG2 company. The issues that relate this game directly to Reel Deal and Hi/Lo Gambler in several ways beyond the platform provider that may have altered the games and certainly delivered them through casinos are thus. Firstly the games played differently in practice mode to real money mode. This means that a player could expect a certain return based on how the games performed in practice mode. When switching to real money mode they would be playing an entirely different game. This has been put down to an inaccurate help file. The other thing these games all have in common is that they behaved one way at some casinos and another way at other casinos. With Triple Chance Hi-lo we see them corrupted at Stan James and Nordicbet, but behaving properly at Betdaq and I think we can safely assume at Bet365. With Reel Deal and Hi/Lo gambler we saw them corrupted at BetFred and Nordicbet among others and behaving properly at Bet365. The games that were re-engineered by GTech companies were gaffed, the games not re-engineered played as advertised.

In the same forum thread at the GPWA where the Stan James Representative promised to look into the matter we see another poster confirming that the game had been pulled from the Stan James line-up. One could certainly assume that the Stan James organisation had indeed been in contact with the game supplier, confirmed the games were dysfunctional, and pulled them. Had the GGC regulator actually read the thread at he would have seen this post by user, thelawnet. Post #220 This post would have given him all the information he needed to begin his investigation and carry out his duties rather than “playing the jaded copper” and laying blame at the feet of players.

It is this author’s opinion that GTech should well have known about these games, if not in 2008 then certainly in early 2012 when, we can assume, the Stan James organization contacted them. As these games may have been on the market for ten years according to Commissioner Brear

…The origins of the discrepancy between Play for Real (PFR) and Play for Fun (PFF) and the paytable error on PFR rest in the creation of the games. The HiLo game was created in 2003/4…

there was obviously no testing that assured that the games played in accordance with their pay tables with real play and practice modes behaving the same, and that the same game deployed in different venues was indeed ‘the same game’.

Regulation failed on several fronts and the statements and missives of the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner show not only arrogance in his disdain for online players as well as a proclivity to shield the offending suppliers and venues, but his follow-up statement also shows a profound ignorance of the basic maths of gambling. The hubris and arrogance of GTECH (yes they changed their official  name again) as a  major corporation, totally out of touch with the gravity of the issue does not bode well for the future of player protection in the online gambling industry.

More On This Issue Below:

To read several articles on the history of GTech and related companies, see our Peeling the Onion section below: