G911 Responds to Haley Hintze Hit Piece: Calls Her Out on Past Dealings

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
G911 Responds to Haley Hintze Hit Piece: Calls Her Out on Past Dealings

Gambling 911 owner and publisher Chris Costigan has responded to a personal attack made by a poker news website that blames him in part for the fiasco involving Lock Poker, an online poker site that went out of business and stiffed its customers out of their winnings.

In an article about Lock Poker that was published on FlushDraw.net last month and written by Haley Hintze Hintze fingers Costigan and his gambling news and info website Gambling911.com as among those "that acted in an especially egregious manner" in connection with the fiasco, which cost Lock Poker customers untold millions of dollars.

Costigan's crimes?

According to Hintze, it was publishing an interview on Gambling911.com with a Lock Poker executive, running Lock Poker ads on Gambling911.com and going to a Lock Poker promotional event in Portugal that was attended by Lock Poker execs, customers and ad partners.

Hintze writes of the fiasco: "In my opinion, there are three that acted in an especially egregious manner: Gambling 911 and its owner, Chris Costigan. Amid the furor of the Portugal retreat, Gambling 911, the poker world’s National Enquirer, ran an exclusive two-part softball interview with Lock’s Jen Larson that neatly sidestepped all the hard issues and lies being spewed by the company. Costigan was himself rumored to be an invitee to the Portugal retreat, and ran Lock ads for well over another year."

Hintze in the piece goes on to also blame Card Player magazine and its owners, the Shulman family, as well as Gerry Poltorok, a poker blogger, for the Lock Poker mess.

Costigan over the weekend responded: "Back in the day when Ms. Hintze was writing for PokerNews.com, she would often write glowing tributes about Howard Lederer, who, at the time, many of us in the industry suspected was running some type of ponzi scheme. I don't fault her for doing so, but you know what they say about people who live in glass houses.

"At about the same time Hintze was busy praising Howard and his wife's charitable events, Gambling911.com was in the process of asking the Court to unseal the warrants and affidavits related to the seizure of more than $30 million destined for over 24,000 online poker players, with knowledge that hundreds of thousands of Full Tilt Poker players could ultimately be affected, and they eventually were. The Court found in our favor and it was the first time an online media outlet was granted the same access to government documents previously afforded only to print, television and radio outlets.

"Under Hintze's tenure at PokerNews.com, that site promoted Absolute Poker among its recommended online poker rooms. So did we. Having dealt with a number of individuals that Hintze either mentions by name or alludes to in her hit piece, I can say with almost 100 per cent certainty that none of them would have been supporting Lock Poker if they knew what we all know now.

"Ms. Hintze needs to lay blame regarding the Lock Poker debacle where it rightfully belongs, with the folks who were running Lock Poker, not with the dozens of ad partners, affiliate sites, employees and poker players who were duped the same way Hintze was by Lederer and Absolute Poker."

As for the Lock Poker event in Portugal, Costigan admits he was in attendance.

"A lot of us went on the Portugal trip and the Lyon, France trip the year before," he said. "It was billed as a retreat and Lock chief executive officer Jen Larson referred to us as family. But once we were there, she didn't want the event promoted, because of the payout issues, and insisted everything would be resolved in two months. We believed in Lock and were duped.  Shortly after Black Friday, Lock was one of the fastest-paying online poker rooms. They were still paying when we pulled them down but the wait times for some players was starting to get ridiculously long."

Costigan continued: "We were also aware that there was a fallout with Lock and Cake Poker--Lock bought their network--and were at one point told that once that relationship dissolved, the payouts would be facilitated much faster. Something else for us is that a close friend and founder of Cake had joined the Lock team when we were in Portugal and his role was to ensure everyone would be paid once issues were resolved. Sadly, I came to learn late last year that he passed away. I did have an uneasy feeling in my gut when I was in Portugal."  

Costigan also noted that Gambling 911 has always worked with top offshore/online sportsbooks to facilitate acquisitions of other troubled offshore/online sportsbooks.

He cited Bookmaker as an example of a company that over the years has swooped in to take over about a dozen companies that were financially strapped, saving players millions of dollars in what would otherwise have been lost funds. 
"I'm not sure if it was just the post-Black Friday jitters or some type of resistance from the folks behind Lock, but their customer base still had tremendous value, one would think, despite the mounting debts," Costigan added. "Me personally, I am surprised a sportsbook like Bookmaker or BetOnline didn't step in and acquire Lock. Poker players are easily converted into sports bettors, so a deal like that would have made sense.
"America's Cardroom took over Black Chip Poker from Merge, Bodog took over World-Wide Tele-Sports, Wager Web took over the accounts of Legends Sports after the company was indicted and the U.S. government ordered them to pay a fine of $1 billion. They were still able to ensure their customers did not lose a penny of their funds. And Pinnacle, when they exited the U.S. market, turned their customer base over to World Sports Exchange. Unfortunately, that did not work out as one would have hoped."
In the final part of his response to the FlushDraw.net piece, Costigan admits he was puzzled by the personal attack from the writer and says he has no idea what precipitated the onslaught. 

"I do not know Ms. Hintze's motivations in trashing me, Gambling 911, Card Player, the Shulmans or Mr. Poltorok, other than it is clear by her past reporting and associations that she herself is not beyond reproach. Maybe she just assumed that because it was five years ago that she was busy placing Howard Lederer on a pedestal while the site she managed promoted Absolute Poker, that we would all have forgotten and this woman can now take a 'holier than thou' attitude while smearing the reputation of others. Clearly she miscalculated our memory spans."

Hintze, who is viewed by many in the poker world as an angry, interest-conflicted and talentless hack writer with no real knowledge about poker, is also under fire from poker blogger Richard Marcus, over another personal attack she penned on FlushDraw.net.

Details of that imbroglio can be viewed here

Hintze is also a wannabe poker pro whose card-playing career has been disastrous.

According to the Hendon Mob online poker database, the Carpentersville, Illinois resident has cashed in just three poker tournaments in her career, earning a whopping total of $2,560.

By Tom Somach

Gambling911.com Staff Writer


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