PartyPoker fraud team launches bot clampdown

10 April 2019

GVC Holdings-owned PartyPoker has confirmed that its Poker Fraud Team closed 277 ‘bot’ accounts between December 2018 and March 2019, leading to nearly $735,000 (£562,000/€652,000) in associated funds being returned to players.

The bots are computer programmes that are created to play against human opponents or other pieces of software, giving some players an unfair advantage.

PartyPoker said that its specialist Poker Fraud Team, comprising a collection of former poker professionals who are equipped with the necessary knowledge and expertise to investigate suspicious activities, had been a key driver in the clampdown.

Since the start of December, more than 75% of the account closures have been following detection by the new team, the operator added.

The Poker Fraud Team remains “a small, dedicated PartyPoker team” despite having expanded recently, a GVC Holdings spokesperson told iGamingBusiness.com. The spokesperson added that he was unaware of any plans to expand the team, in spite of the apparent scale of the issue.

However, players have been invited to contact the fraud team directly if they detect any suspicious activity at online tables, with PartyPoker pledging to investigate all leads.

The operator added that suspicious activities can involve potential collusion between two or more players or the use of bots or other prohibited software designed to give players an unfair advantage.

“Two years ago it wouldn’t have been possible, but after seeing the security department first hand, the team working there and the tools they are using, I’m very confident now that they can tackle people trying to play against the rules,” PartyPoker ambassador Patrick Leonard said.

Bots have also infiltrated other sectors, including ticketing. The UK government, under pressure from music and entertainment industry lobbyists, is just one authority considering enforcing stricter sanctions on operators of bots who allow sought-after tickets to events to be snapped up in bulk and then resold at inflated prices on resale websites.