Former Absolute Poker CEO Scott Tom has turned himself in and will face charges for his involvement in Black Friday. Online poker is booming in Asian markets. MGM is proactive in adopting the GameSense problem gaming initiative. And who is going to fill the mystery 56th seat in Aria’s Super High Roller Bowl?

Better Late than Never

Scott Tom will face trial, finally, or more likely, plea bargain for some relatively light sentence. Tom, on the lam since 2011, is the former CEO and founder of Absolute Poker, and commonly believed to have been instrumental in the superuser cheating which occurred on that site prior to Black Friday, although this has not been proven in the legal sense.

Plenty of indictments went out in the aftermath of Black Friday, but at first only lower-level players and people on the banking side of things actually showed up in court to face their charges. The top dogs at the companies involved, including CEOs Scott Tom (Absolute Poker), Ray Bitar (Full Tilt) and Isai Scheinberg (PokerStars) all conveniently found themselves out of the US at the time and didn’t return, at least not immediately.

Bitar was fairly quick to give up on staying in hiding, returning to the US to face charges in 2012, purportedly because of life-threatening health issues. Those same issues helped him stay out of prison, as the judge deemed that depriving him of the quality of medical care he was seeking would equate to a death sentence. Despite his self-characterization as dying and penniless, photos emerged last year of Bitar looking much slimmer, healthier, and in the process of tying the knot at what appeared to be a rather expensive wedding.

Meanwhile, Tom’s younger stepbrother Brent Beckley was quick to face charges back in 2011, and served only a few months. Now, he’s reportedly working for BetOnline, a US-facing unregulated site which, coincidentally enough, is currently dealing with its own alleged cheating scandal. One suspects that the fairly soft treatment of Bitar and Beckley and their rapid reintegration into wealthy scumbag society have influenced Tom’s decision.

Quick Hitters

– The notion that online poker is in a period of decline may prove to be Eurocentric. Most large sites have seen traffic trending downwards in recent years, but a new market is burgeoning in Asia. OnlinePokerReport has the breakdown.

MGM has proactively adopted the GameSense responsible gaming platform throughout its US network. The system, which originated in British Columbia, Canada, has been gaining traction among both casinos and patrons due to its approach which involves educating gamblers and helping them to self-monitor, rather than asking them to voluntarily commit to hard restrictions.

– Fifty-five of the 56 players who will participate in the Aria’s Super High Roller Bowl are known. The remaining seat will go to a celebrity of some sort, and speculation is that the delay in announcing the final player is for marketing reasons, suggesting that it might be a big name indeed.

– A minor sports betting site decided to offer a proposition on whether a backup goalkeeper – known for his large size – would be caught on camera “eating a pie” during the match. Several of his friends and fans proceeded to take the bet. He then proceeded to do so, and then openly admitted to a journalist after the game that he had known about the bet and thought the whole thing was in good fun. Who is stupidest in this whole scenario? That is for the reader to decide.

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