Loto-Québec Faces Online Poker Class Action Lawsuit

Loto-Quebec and its online poker platform are under scrutiny for a glitch that allowed many players to see the hole cards of their competitors. The lawsuit in the Quebec Superior Court claims that players using iPads had an unfair advantage.

Further, more victims of the rigged online poker platform now want to join the case and create a class action lawsuit against Loto-Quebec.

Not since the UltimateBet and Absolute Poker online poker cheating scandal of the late 2000s have players been faced with a poker platform that allowed superusers to cheat in the game. This instance didn’t involve players seeing hole cards during the hand, but the similarities between the cases are too close for the comfort of many players.

OK Poker and Other Games

Loto-Quebec offers an online gaming platform called EspaceJeux, which consists of online slots, table games, live-dealer casino games, lottery options, bingo, and limited sports betting. OK Poker is also a part of the site and specifically caters to poker players.

The government-run OK Poker site runs real-money online poker for players in Quebec, bringing in several hundred people on an average evening for cash games and tournaments.

As is common in many live poker rooms, OK Poker even runs a Bad Beat Jackpot promotion, one that paid its highest amount in history of $755,896 recently.

The site has been a pleasant distraction for players who have been unable to access live poker for several months due to the coronavirus. And Loto-Quebec reaped the rewards of higher numbers and more revenue since mid-March for that reason.

Claims of Not OK Poker

According to Le Journal de Quebec, via Quebec Superior Court documents, the Loto-Quebec online poker platform had a glitch that gave some players an unfair advantage from its launch in July 2019 through May 18, 2020.

It seems that Elisabetta Bertucci discovered the problem, though not before she lost approximately $18,000 on the site due to the unfair play.

Most players on the site had no idea that OK Poker did not run the Texas Hold’em poker games fairly, but Bertucci discovered that players on iPads (and perhaps any iOS device) had access to the hole cards at the end of each hand. This was the case whether or not the players revealed their hole cards to the table or not.

Bertucci discovered this when she played a poker tournament on OK Poker using an iPad for the first time. She took photos of the information she found regarding opponents’ hole cards. She then played in cash games and confirmed the same flaw in that situation.

Bertucci told Loto-Quebec of the problem on May 13. She spoke with a technician that confirmed the problem. However, by May 18, the company had not fixed the problem, so she called again. They then fixed it that day.

Three days later, the company offered her a $15 credit on the website and a note: “Thank you for having taken the time to inform us.” She refused and took the case the court.

Even still, Loto-Quebec has not allowed Bertucci to change her username on the OK Poker platform. This means she is unable to play because any opponents may view her hand histories and develop strategies with which to play against her.

Lawsuit Seeks Class Action Status

The lawsuit claimed that Loto-Quebec’s OK Poker platform had a “serious defect unknown to the vast majority of group members” until May 18, 2020.

According to the suit itself per the firm representing the plaintiff, players with iPads and possibly any iOS mobile device could see the hand histories of other players on the poker platform. Players using laptops or desktop computers did not have that access.

With that in mind, LPC Avocat is welcoming other players to participate in the class action lawsuit now being considered by the Quebec Superior Court. Those who played any real-money poker on the site through May 18, 2020, are eligible.

“By failing to inform all of the Class members of the serious platform flaw and by not changing all of their usernames (thereby causing the damages to be ongoing since some users have taken notes of the strategies of other users who are still identified by the same username), Loto-Quebec continues to deceive Class members and also continues to violate sections 41, 221(g), and 228 of the Consumer Protection Act.”

The class action case seeks to obtain the following remedies for players:

  • Reimbursement of monies paid to play Texas Hold’em on the site through May 18, 2020
  • Reimbursement of $17,945.86 to Bertucci
  • Punitive damages of $300 per player involved in the suit
  • Pay interest on all sums of money owed
  • Order forcing Loto-Quebec to change all usernames of players involved in the suit

Importance of Integrity

The flaw may seem to some like a small glitch that the company eventually fixed. Those who know poker well, however, are aware of the unfairness inherent in that glitch.

Those with access to hole card information had an advantage over other players because they could see the victims’ patterns. Was she bluffing? How much did she bet when she bluffed? Did she play every hand in the blinds no matter her hole cards? These are just a few examples of how a player with inside information could use that information to cheat.

Further, Loto-Quebec told players that OK Poker was a site with “integrity, security and privacy protection” as its priorities. They were also led to believe they were playing on a site based on the rules of online poker, which gives players the option to keep their hole cards a secret if they fold a hand.

The worst part, per the lawsuit, was that Loto-Quebec did not inform all players on the site of the glitch and require them to change their usernames. Since some players continue to compete with the same usernames, their hand histories can be used against them by their opponents.

Le Journal de Quebec attempted to garner a statement from Loto-Quebec. The company responded that it is aware of the allegations and cannot comment on an ongoing legal matter.

 

 

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell has been writing about poker and gambling since 2004. As the online gaming sectors have changed and grown, particularly in the United States and Canada, she has followed it all and written about it for websites like World Poker Tour and PokerScout. In her free time, she runs a small business, reads, cooks, and enjoys music.

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