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TUSK & MICROGAMING POKER SCANDAL

The Tusk Poker scandal is not to be confused with the incident in Poland in 2009 when the Polish prime minister Donald Tusk fired three highly ranked government officials and the head of the anti corruption agency after an anti corruption investigation showed that public officials unlawfully had tried to reduce the burden of new gambling taxes on the casino industry.

While the investigation of this lobbying scandal in Poland was code named Operation Blackjack1, the actual Tusk Poker scandal was something completely different and mainly related to poker and the liquidation of a major poker operator on Microgaming.

The Tusk Investment Corporation was registered in the republic of Vanuatu (a small island in South Pacific), but mainly ran their business out of Brisbane, Australia.

Tusk was one of the most important licensees on the Microgaming Network and operated no less than 28 poker sites:

Battlefield Poker, Royal Card Club, Red Nines, Arctic Poker, Raw Poker, Poker.ie, Daily Poker, Flush Draw Poker, Will Bet Poker, Bet Road Poker, Grand Central Poker, Off The Rail Poker, Privy Poker, Berserk Poker, Atomik Poker, Dave`s Poker Room, Hetman Poker, Hot Pepper Poker, Poker Seas, TilttAA Poker, Loose Games Poker, CPT Gaming Poker, Ice Bear Poker, GoHard Poker, Caya Poker, Mr Urban Poker, Poker Sweden and Euro Poker Dream.

In addition to that, Tusk ran six online casinos: Golden Reef Casino, Nostalgia Casino, Challenge Casino, Music Hall Casino, UK Casino Club and iBig Casino2 with licenses in various places around the world.

The main issue with Tusk was that they offered rakeback deals, practically to everyone, with unusually high (up to 70%) percentages compared to the norm of the poker industry. Another problem was that Tusk allegedly catered for poker affiliates wanting to become poker operators, thus leaving the poker rooms out of the normal food chain of the poker industry.

A lot of the rake that was generated on the Microgaming Network (formerly known as Prima Poker) came via Tusk, and some say that Microgaming almost went bust along with Tusk but that the high traffic from Unibet kept them afloat. Towards the end of 2006 Microgaming made a rule saying players had to make a deposit before getting offered rake back and that the rake back cap would be 30% for all players as of February 1st 20073. On July 9th 2012 Microgaming was ranked 10th on the online poker traffic report of Pokerscout.com.

Tusk Investment Corporation went into liquidation on March 6th 2008, leaving a lot of players with a lost bankroll. Rumors has it that Tusk paid out large bonuses to owners and board members from funds that essentially belonged to the players.


1 nytimes.com 7 October, 2009 

2 ppbadvisory.com 6 March, 2008 

3 gpwa.org 24 November, 2006