Have to use that word “resolution” tentatively, I suppose, as it seems like there will be more to come from this one, namely potential lawsuits filed by unsatisified players. In any event, about 10 days ago the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement released its “Final Order” directing the Borgata how to distribute both the $1,433,145 in prize money that had yet to be won in the tournament (i.e., the total of the prizes scheduled to go to the top 27 finishers) as well as $288,720 more in revenue the Borgata had collected from entrants.
That adds up to $1,721,805 total. Somewhat surprisingly, the DGE decided not just to award money to the final 27, but also to refund $560 entry fees to 2,143 other players “who may have been impaced by the alleged criminal conduct who were eliminated from the event” without cashing.
The refunds to eliminated players total just over $1.2 million, leaving about $521K for the final 27. The DGE directed the Borgata to distribute that money “in equal amounts of approximately $19,323 to each of the 27 entrants” who still were alive in the event at the moment it was canceled. The Borgata also issued a statement reiterating the DGE’s directive and making known its intention to comply.
Many have been critical of such a “resolution,” in particular pointing out how the final 27 players, otherwise due to play for over $1.43 million, together came away with just over a third of that total.
Today I listened to respected Tournament Director Matt Savage (not the TD at the Borgata) on the latest Two Plus Two Pokercast explaining why he found the resolution unsatisfactory and also troubling in terms of how it might affect tournament poker going forward. Savage’s point was that given such a resolution, players aware of cheating in future tournaments may well become reluctant to make their awareness known to tournament officials out of fear that they may themselves lose potential winnings should the tournament be canceled.
I said back in January that there didn’t seem to me any wholly satisfactory way to resolve the situation that would prove satisfying to all concerned, but it does seem as though there were several different ways it might have been resolved that would have been preferable to the one chosen. And as Mike Johnson and Adam Schwartz pointed out on the Pokercast, of all the possible scenarios imagined by both players and observers prior to the DGE’s order, few (none?) ever considered the possibility that nearly two-thirds of the unawarded prize money would not only not go to the players still alive in the event (and due to divide it up), but would go to eliminated players instead.