A Big Month for the partypoker Bot Hunt
July of 2019 turned out to be a big month for partypoker in its continuing program to eradicate the use of automated playing software, known as botting, from its online poker platforms. In its latest release of numbers, party confirmed it closed a total of 121 fraudulent bot accounts during the month.
That total, as always, consists of cheating accounts on both the dot-com global platform and the ring-fenced dot-eu site, which offers services to France and Spain. According to the latest partypoker blog update, “89 of the 121 accounts closed came from the site’s main dotcom license with the remaining 32 registered to doteu.”
The latest report of funds seized, however, showed a skew toward the France/Spain platform: “$76,267 was seized from dotcom account balances and a further €88,351 confiscated from accounts belonging to its ring-fenced doteu market.” This marks the second straight month that party has identified and closed more high-balance accounts on the dot-eu platform, on average, when compared against dot-com seizures. For the first several months of this ongoing effort, total closures and average balances sezed were mostly skewed the other way.
The July numbers also represent the largest single-month combined total for closures since party began providing monthly updates back in April. Whether that represents a banner achievement is entirely a matter of perspective. Such numbers will naturally fluctuate wildly. since most bots are operated as part of larger multi-bot rings. Investigating suspected bot networks can also take weeks or months.
As in earlier months, all funds seized from botting accounts have been distributed to cheated players. Sadly, those funds rarely represent more than a small percentage of the funds actually stolen through illicit automated play.
EU privacy laws generally prohibit party from identifying publicly the owners and operators of the cheating accounts. Excepting rare instances, party is also barred from identfying whether the site has taken (or even considered) legal action against the cheating players. This opacity, partly forced by the EU laws, is part of why a portion of online players have been reserved in their responses to what still appears to be a well-intended corporate effort.
Party continues to promote the effort as part of an “ongoing drive to make the site the safest place to play online poker.” The effort is based on the work of party’s Poker Fraud Team, which is described as a small but dedicated “collection of former poker professionals whose duty is to investigate suspicious activity and aid partypoker in ridding the site of unscrupulous accounts.”