By Christopher Costigan
October 20, 2007
With all the hoopla surrounding the Absolute Poker "internal breach",
the focus shifts towards Costa Rican employees of online gambling
establishments and the common practice of hacking into company computer
Absolute Poker has claimed that one of their employees with "intimate
knowledge" of their software platform, was able to go in and play along
with real customers, identify their whole cards, and presumably walk off
with the top money prize in tournaments (though there is a suggestion
that the individual in question never saw any of this cash).
Hacking is an all too common practice among skilled tech employees of
Costa Rican online gambling establishments and rarely is it done to be
"This employee wanted to prove to us he could do this (see the whole
cards)," a Senior Manager of Absolute Poker conveyed to Gambling911.com.
Oddly enough this was the same exact statement made when a BetonSports
employee was reprimanded for hacking into the Human Resource database
some years back.
We were present when a tech employee was ushered into the office of then
owner, Gary Kaplan, after it was learned he had hacked into this data
After all those stories we have read about Mr. Kaplan (currently
awaiting trial in a St. Louis jail) (see: Gary Kaplan and BetonSports
Profiled by River Front Times ) one immediately worried about the
fate of this hacking culprit: shot, mutilated, at the very least -
terminated without pay. Just to show how Gary Kaplan wasn't as
ferocious a man as he is made out to be, the "hacker" returned back to
his desk smiling and joking. The punishment appeared to be that he
could continue working at BetonSports.
I had once sent an email out from that office using one of their
computer terminals. I soon learned that one of their employees hacked
into my account and used my email to spam several hundred thousand
"They are like little monkeys trying to prove how good they are with
computers," a BetonSports executive told us at the time.
One of the individuals responsible for overseeing the IT staff and
graphics department relayed to Gambling911: "These guys are always
hacking into systems and computers here just to show they can do it."
Many operators carry with them a certain arrogance too when it comes to
those disappearing customer lists. This has always been a major problem
within the online gambling industry proper and continues to be.
The Absolute Poker debacle will reinforce the need for better "internal
security" and more serious punishment for those who engage in "inner
office hacking activities for fun".
Whether this is the scenario that occurred at Absolute remains to be
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