ANOTHER 60 MINUTES SHOW ON INTERNET GAMBLING IN PROSPECT
Popular investigative television program asking questions regarding the Absolute Poker scandal
Top online poker bloggers, posters and writers are predicting that the popular US television investigative program "60 Minutes" could be about to launch an expose on the Absolute Poker cheating scandal (see previous InfoPowa reports). The program, which has a viewership in the millions, has previously covered online gambling in 2001, 2005 and 2006…and not always in the most positive terms.
Top blogger and 2+2 contributor Nat Arem, who made a major contribution in investigating and exposing the Absolute Poker.com affair which resulted in the company paying a $500 000 fine to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission that regulates the company, wrote on his blog Nat Arem.com that he has known about the new story for some weeks but had respected the confidentiality requested by the 60 Minutes producer. However, as several other poker information websites had picked up on approaches to industry personalities made by the producers, he would reveal what he knew.
"A few weeks ago, I was contacted by 60 Minutes in conjunction with a reporter from the Washington Post regarding a story about the Absolute Poker scandal from last fall," Arem wrote. "I was told that they wanted Adanthar (another 2+2 investigator) and myself for on-camera interviews with Steve Kroft. I later found out they were also interested in interviewing Michael Josem and Marco Johnson.
"Basically, I spent a little while on the phone with the producer and the Washington Post reporter and recapped the whole story as well as I could from memory. I talked about my involvement and contribution, along with all the other people who were involved.
"After that conversation, I found out that 60 Minutes plans on going to a number of different locations. I’ve heard that Canada, Costa Rica and Las Vegas are all possible travel locations. I may or may not be meeting up with 60 Minutes in Costa Rica, if and when they come down. There’s also the possibility that I will end up on-camera in Atlanta.
"In terms of agenda, I’ve been told that the goal is to “tell the story from soup to nuts.” I don’t really know if that means a negative agenda for online poker, but I get the feeling that it might.
"That means that this story is unlikely to be a good thing for online poker on the whole. I wish that programs like 60 Minutes would always tell the whole story (ie, get PokerStars involved, explain why some sites are secure and clean, etc), but I can’t really be sure that will happen.
"If I do end up on-camera, I will be sure to explain that this scandal was online poker’s “Enron” — ie, the biggest and worst scandal in the history of the industry. It is not a commonplace occurrence and people should not take it as such.
"In terms of the “certainty” that this will get on the air… I’m not sure. I’ve been told that it’s definitely happening. But, considering that it has not been shot yet, anything is possible. And if it does end up on the air, I have no idea when that will be or what the 60 Minutes airing schedule looks like."
Several other poker writers have been approached by 60 Minutes, Tom Somach reported, observing that with another online poker cheating scandal breaking – this time the allegations against Absolute's sister poker website Ultimate Bet – it’s a sure bet the “60 Minutes” piece won’t just address the Absolute Poker situation.
Infopowa has covered the Ultimate Bet story, which appears to have gone very quiet in recent weeks.
The story about the Absolute Poker debacle, initially denied and then confirmed as an "insider issue" involving a "consultant" alleged by other sources to be one Alan John Grimaud, a Canadian citizen who disappeared from public view in the wake of the issue, is likely to make fascinating television. It has all the elements for a penetrating expose; big money, high technology, Internet gambling, mysterious figures in the background, unresolved questions and some expert detective work by the poker-playing community.