The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) says it has so far found no evidence that Pala Interactive CEO Jim Ryan (pictured) was complicit in the superuser scandal at defunct online poker operator Ultimate Bet (UB). The DGE posted a document to its website on Thursday detailing its preliminary investigation of Ryan’s activities as part of their approval of a transactional waiver for Pala Interactive, the online gambling operation of California’s Pala Band of Mission Indians, whose PalaCasino.com site soft-launched in New Jersey this week.
Ryan was formerly CEO of UB’s parent company Excapsa and his role in the superuser scandal – in which several UB principals were found to be utilizing a ‘god mode’ function of the UB software to read other players’ hole cards – has long been a point of contention for UB players. Questions were also raised whether Pala’s software had connections to UB’s software.
In the DGE’s letter (read it here), director David Rebuck acknowledges that the superuser scandal occurred while Ryan was Excapsa CEO, but so far the DGE “has no evidence that he was aware of, or complicit in, this fraudulent activity.” The DGE says Ryan resigned from Excapsa on November, 30 2006, shortly after passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and the subsequent sale of Excapsa subsidiaries Excapsa Services Inc (Ontario) and Game Theory Holding Ltd. (Malta) to BlastOff Limited aka Tokwiro Enterprises.
The DGE says Ryan testified under oath that Pala’s current software is “completely independent” from that used by Excapsa and has been tested and approved by the DGE’s Technical Services Bureau. The DGE stresses that its investigation is continuing but that it will be “comprehensive, impartial and based upon facts, not speculation.”
In an interview with the Associated Press, Ryan called the DGE letter “an amazing way to clear the air.” Ryan insisted he “had no knowledge of [the superuser scandal], was not involved.” Ryan also said Pala’s software platform “is not, in any way, shape or form” the UB platform. “People coming to Pala are guaranteed a fair and safe experience.”
On a side note, the DGE document also revealed that the sponsorship Pala inked with poker pro Phil Ivey in April 2013 expired in June 2014. It’s likely that Ivey was pushed rather than choosing to jump, given that Pala is operating in New Jersey in partnership with the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, with which Ivey is embroiled in a $9.6m ‘edge sorting’ lawsuit.