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Rob Yong wants to prevent fraud at Poker with the FairPlay initiative

Published by

July 19, 2019 3:12 pm

Rob Yong wants to prevent fraud at Poker with the FairPlay initiative

Rob Yong intends to banish cheating from the poker world. Together with his casino and partypoker, he has now launched the FairPlay initiative.

The owner of the Dusk Till Dawn casino in England and a key partner of GVC Holdings (which owns the partypoker brand) has revealed his vision to Poker Industry Pro ($).

Yong is quoted as saying, “I founded FairPlay to encourage online poker sites, live poker tours and casino card rooms to collaborate by sharing information about customers caught cheating. For example, when using bots, collision, multi-accounts or ghosting.”

The Dusk Till Dawn (DTD) and partypoker are – not surprisingly – the first two FairPlay members. Yong is closely associated with partypoker, as he has in the past hosted several live events of the online poker site that are part of the partypoker LIVE Tour at the DTD.

Changes in partypoker ecology in line with the FairPlay concept

Especially Yong was one of the advocates of the recent changes at partypoker, which aim at a fair game. The update took place on June 17th; since then, partypoker has not been able to use heads-up displays (HUDs) anymore. Third-party software has largely been banned, hand histories can no longer be downloaded, and all members had to choose a new nickname to make existing databases useless.

On FairPlay, members would have access to a blacklist of banned players, which would be updated every 24 hours with new data if a player were banned from a live casino or online gaming platform.

Similar Initiatives Outside the Poker Cosmos

Similar projects have long since emerged outside the poker world. Several sports betting providers have founded the Betfair Betting Exchange – where data about bets received is shared. If a betting behaviour should seem strange – for example betting for a lot of money at an event that normally nobody is interested in – no bets will be accepted until it has been checked whether there is any trickery.

The growing esports community is looking to the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), which has set itself the goal of “being seen as the guardian of sporting integrity in the e-sports sector and take responsibility for hindering, preventing, investigating and prosecuting cheating, incidents of match manipulation and doping – under cheating are captured, albeit not exclusively.

Although it seems unlikely that Yong will face headwinds from its competitors, a legal minefield must be avoided before the project can stand on legal feet.

DSGVO as a possible trip hazard

The Basic Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO), which entered into force on May 25th 2018, could become the biggest obstacle for FairPlay. The DSGVO safeguards the data and data protection of all European citizens.

Under the DSGVO, any service that processes personal data must disclose what data is collected and what the data is used for. It must also explain how long the data will be stored and whether it will be shared with third parties. You will certainly know the pop-ups that flash on various websites and ask for your permission to store cookies.

EU citizens have the right under the DSGVO to request all data that a service has about them and – under certain conditions – the right to have this data deleted. This part of the Regulation is intended to protect the privacy of citizens. One can well imagine that someone who is branded as a fraudster on a blacklist would like to have this data deleted; it is to be assumed that this request would have to be complied with. Yong believes that the DSGVO may not protect someone who violates the terms and conditions of a site or the live casino.

DSGVO was the end for previous undertakings

The DSGVO is a hurdle on which a similar initiative has already failed. Alex Scott, Managing Director of the MPN, told Poker Industry Pro that the MPN tried something similar to FairPlay many years ago. Although there was no lack of industry support, Scott admitted that the initiative had quickly become “very complex” in terms of legal issues. In his opinion, DSGVO makes it impossible to exchange useful data.

The penalties for a violation of the DSGVO can be severe – we are talking about fines of up to €10 million or up to two per cent of the annual worldwide turnover of a company; the higher number wins. If we look at GVC’s financial situation over the past year, a fine of £58 million could be imposed on the company for breach.

One thing is certain: Yong wants FairPlay to work. And the DTD owner is regarded as a very persistent contemporary which is not known for letting go.

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