VSO New Year Special: The Biggest Gambling News Stories Of 2023

The year is almost over and it’s time to sit back and reflect on the past 12 months. As usual in the world of gambling, it’s been a busy one.

Among the most eye-catching headlines of 2023, we’ve seen major gambling ring busts, poker cheats, new sports betting legislation, cyber attacks on casinos, and even Formula 1 in Las Vegas.

To help you reflect on the year that’s been, we’ve accumulated the most read stories from 2023. So sit back, grab yourself a mulled wine, and enjoy the wild ride as we say goodbye to the year.

William Kassouf Accused of Intentionally Shorting Pots at the Irish Open First up, it’s over to the world of poker. In April, British poker player William Kassouf hit the headlines in yet another cheating scandal. As our resident poker pro David Lappin reported at the time, Kassouf – who was dropped by sponsor Grosvenor Casinos in 2018 for palming chips – was up to his old tricks again at this year’s Irish Poker Open in Dublin.

a player claimed Kassouf sprinted away from a table

Players accused him of a range of untrustworthy behavior, including trying to get out of contributing a pre-flop bet by claiming ignorance. In a much worse accusation, a player claimed Kassouf sprinted away from a table while the amount he owed was being calculated. This was corroborated by Keith Littlewood, who said it was part of his pot:

It’s true I am afraid.. it was part my pot.. feel very disappointed- it was €300. No one saw him take the chips but when the dealer came to pull in the chips his stack was gone and so was Kassouf.. Security searched the building with no joy

— Keith Littlewood (@Blacktowerkeith) April 11, 2023 VegasSlotsOnline News reached out to Littlewood, who explained: “None of the stacks were counted or brought in the middle. Kassouf asked the dealer to just leave it and sort it after the river. He had top set AA with no re-draws versus my straight with heart flush re-draw. Seat 4 had straight with diamond flush re-draw.”

MGM Resorts Casinos Put on Lockdown by Ransomware Hackers It’s easy to see why this next news item made our list, given that it dominated our headlines for weeks. Like something out of the movies rather than reality, MGM Resorts International had an incredibly difficult September thanks to a ransomware attack that essentially shut down operations at its Las Vegas casinos, losing the operator up to $8.4m per day.

left hotel guests unable to check into their rooms

MGM refused to pay the gang, ultimately confirmed as Russian hackers ALPHV or Black Cat, but its operations remained affected for weeks as it worked with the FBI on the issue. The hack crashed slot machines and ATMs, left hotel guests unable to check into their rooms, and forced customers to queue for hours in casino lobbies to resolve issues.

Although MGM ultimately got its systems back online, it is now facing a fresh headache thanks to a cyberattack-related lawsuit. Caesars Entertainment is also the center of one such lawsuit after it suffered a similar hack earlier in the year. The casino giant paid out $30m to settle its own issue before news broke, however.

VSO News spoke to cybersecurity expert Jonathan Care of Lionfish Tech Advisors at the time to find out more about the MGM hack.

Heelmike Is First Content Creator Banned From Kick for On-Stream Sex Act One major story from this year is the success of Kick, the new streaming platform launched by crypto casino Stake late last year. The launch came as a result of Twitch’s decision to ban unregulated casino content on the platform, a prohibition that included Stake among a string of other well-known crypto casinos.

Throughout 2023, many major Twitch stars have made the move to Kick, including chess master GMHikaru, hot tub girl Amouranth, and even Twitch’s most-followed streamer Ninja. Controversial Twitch star Heelmike was another big name to make the move, although it wasn’t long before he experienced some difficulties.

he engaged in a sex act with a girl while on stream

Heelmike received the first official Kick ban after he engaged in a sex act with a girl while on stream. The streamer, who had amassed 7.4 million followers on Twitch before being banned from that platform in December 2022, shared news of his one-day Kick ban on X (then Twitter):



— Heelmike (@Heelmike) February 23, 2023 Some didn’t take too kindly to the behavior, including gambling streamer Xposed who called Heelmike’s performance an “absolute joke of a stream.” He urged the 29-year-old to “make some real content instead of sexualizing and using women for views.”

Powerbroker’s Death Exposes One of the “Biggest Ponzi Scams in Australian History” Now for one of our most notable stories regarding the world of crime. In October, the sudden death of a sports and racing powerbroker in the Australian state of Victoria revealed approximately AU$21.8m ($13.89m) had gone missing from accounts linked to Victorian sportsbooks. It turned out that the powerbroker was running one of the “biggest ponzi scams in Australian history.”

After the death of AMS Ivanhoe Lawyers’ John Adams, the Victorian Legal Services Board (VLSB) confirmed that it was investigating his law firm over “tens of millions of dollars” that have gone missing from victims, including high profile investors. That said, the alleged misappropriation of funds by Adams was outside of its legal remit, meaning its powers were limited.

concern ahead of the biggest moment in the Australian betting calendar

The Victorian Bookmakers’ Association, which oversees an AU$10m (US$6.3m) fund for its sportsbook clients, said that AU$1.8m (US$1.1m) had gone missing, in addition to AU$20m (US$12.7m) in “additional private investments.” This all came in the build-up to the Melbourne Cup, prompting concern ahead of the biggest moment in the Australian betting calendar.

The investigation is still ongoing.

Long-Awaited Las Vegas Formula 1 Grand Prix Gets Mixed Reception What better way to end our roundup than with the topic that has appeared the most in VSO News headlines throughout 2023. Formula 1 finally merged with Las Vegas in November as the lights went out on the long-awaited Grand Prix in the city. While many were delighted by the gambling hub’s biggest sporting event of the year, others weren’t quite as pleased.

The build-up was turbulent, to say the least. Locals and tourists alike grew aggravated by the construction sites that littered the Las Vegas Strip throughout the year. The Bellagio Fountain show and the volcano at the Mirage were both put on pause, while major road disruption caused traffic around the busy area.

a construction worker died while working on one of the sites at the Bellagio Fountains

To make matters worse, a construction worker died while working on one of the sites at the Bellagio Fountains. The worker suffered a laceration to the neck and died after being rushed to hospital. The tragic incident came just one week after a carpenter trade union member had warned on X that the sites were not safe. He claimed the F1 owner Liberty Media was using cheap out-of-state laborers that didn’t require certain safety certifications.

The race itself was a spectacle, bringing fierce battling from ultimate victor Max Verstappen. However, a lawsuit has now put a dampener on the event, brought about as a result of a canceled practice session at the beginning of the weekend. A collision with a loose drain cover caused organizers to send fans home after they viewed just ten minutes of the action that day. Now, some are suing Liberty Media.