IGC terminates membership of Gambling Federation - Saturday 12th of March 2005

The Interactive Gaming Council today accepted the resignation of Flaviano Fogli from its Board of Directors. The IGC Board has also terminated, by unanimous vote, the membership of the Gambling Federation, a Canadian company for which Fogli serves as chief executive officer.

The Gambling Federation provides services to online casinos, primarily acting as an affiliate network. According to published reports, the company had installed malware (malicious software) in Gambling Federation’s software that players downloaded to enable play at certain casino sites. When installed, the malware prevented the players from accessing three specific casinos that had been involved in an earlier dispute with Gambling Federation.

Fogli said the malicious code was designed to block access to the three casinos that were involved with a former Gambling Federation employee who Fogli alleged had stolen the email addresses of players at Gambling Federation casinos. The affair was discussed on several message boards devoted to online gambling, and Fogli issued an apology in a posting on a forum at CasinoMeister.com. Fogli exhibited remorse for the retributive action taken, something he conceded was inappropriate.

After an investigation of the situation and an interview of Mr. Fogli, the IGC took the step to terminate Gambling Federation’s membership and accept Mr. Fogli’s resignation. It was the determination of the IGC that the actions of Gambling Federation were contrary to the letter and spirit of the IGC’s Code of Conduct and contrary to the best interests of the interactive gaming public and industry.

In a letter to Fogli after the IGC Board of Directors met on March 9, Mark Stone, the IGC’s chair, thanked Fogli for his “openness and candor” at the board’s meeting. Stone told Fogli that, “the Board understands your outrage at the conduct of your competitor. The theft and conversion of property, be it software or email lists, is reprehensible and should not be practiced or condoned by any reputable business. But there are also appropriate means by which to deal with such actions. It is felt that the action by Gambling Federation in this case is not one of those appropriate means.”

Stone added that the actions of Gambling Federation “jeopardized the integrity of the entire industry. The act hasn’t just prevented a competitor from getting a few visitors; rather it has shown the general public one more example of how vulnerable each individual’s computer and personal data are to attack and interception.”

Rick Smith, executive director of the IGC, said the organization had to take an unequivocal stance when confronted with an action such as that of the Gambling Federation. “Causing someone to download intrusive software onto his or her personal computer is totally unacceptable by anyone, under any conditions,” Smith said. “I am saddened that this was done by an IGC member, and I apologize to our many upstanding members and to the online gaming public.”

The Gambling Federation had been a member of the IGC since March 15, 2004. The termination of its membership is effective immediately.

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