Grand Parker Casino Review
Grand Parker Casino was a member of the Revenue Jet affiliate program, which was owned by Milore Limited out of Curacao. It was blacklisted along with all other Revenue Jet casinos in 2014 and 2015, due to rogue policies. The site is now closed, but not because of its status as a rogue casino.
The owners of Revenue Jet and Milore Ltd. were arrested by Israeli law enforcement and extradited to the United States. The two men, Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein, are alleged to have been a part of the largest cyber-attack in United States history. Shalon and Orenstein await trial in the United States on over 30 felony counts. Each charge carries with it a 5 to 20 year sentence.
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Grand Parker Casino Timeline
|2012||Grand Parker Casino launches. It is part of the Revenue Jet affiliate network.|
|2012||In July 2012, the Revenue Jet and Affactive Group online casino operations generated $75.2 million in revenues, according to US authorities.|
|2013||Grand Parker begins to receive complaints on Ask Gamblers. The average complaint time is 1 month and the average money amount is $3,068.|
|2013||An internal email sent by one of the owners of Grand Parker claimed online gaming enterprises generated $78.9 million in revenues in October 2013 alone.|
|2014||All Revenue Jet casinos are blacklisted by Ask Gamblers, due to “a massive number of complaints.”|
|2014||CasinoMeister names Revenue Jet as the Worst Casino Group of 2014, citing a host of complaints about the terms and conditions on their sites.|
|2015||Grand Parker Casino’s online reputation is dismal. Of 64 complaints on Ask Gamblers, only 31 were resolved to the players’ satisfaction.|
|2015||The owners of Grand Parker Casino, Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein, are arrested in Israel and charged with over 30 felonies related to a massive cyber attack on American financial institutions.|
|2015||Israel extradites Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein to stand trial.|
|2016||Joshua Aaron, an American from Baltimore, remains wanted, but on the loose. US newspapers list Joshua Aaron as the mastermind, though Israeli news reports suggest Gery Shalon was the ringleader.|
|2016||Shalon and Orenstein await trial in the United States.|
Grand Parker Casino History
Grand Parker Casino launched in 2012 as part of a new affiliate group, Revenue Jet. The site appeared to have a lot of money behind it, because the design was first-rate, advertisements seemed to be everywhere, and the welcome bonus was substantial. These positives drove a significant number of signups.
Bonus Tokens via Email
One tactic offered was a $20 to $60 promotional bonus chip. Players would receive these bonus tokens via email. Most lost their bonus. Some percentage of those players signed up at Grand Parker. A few won money and withdrew it. Even fewer won thousands of dollars. These players inevitably ended up on a forum like Ask Gamblers or CasinoMeister, complaining of their treatment.
Bogus Terms and Conditions
Soon enough, Revenue Jet sites like Grand Parker began to gain a reputation for underhanded tactics. Players complained that management would not return their calls if they had big winnings. In some cases, the player would be flagged for a random “security check.” These background checks would take up to four months to complete.
In other cases, players who stopped playing on the Revenue Jet sites, waiting for the security check to complete, would have their account frozen. When they asked why, they were told their account was frozen due to inactivity. In other words, keep playing until you lose your winnings or else we’ll simply ban the account altogether.
False Claims of Licensing
CasinoMeister gave Revenue Jet the Worst Casino Group of 2014 because of the above tactics and other irregularities. One of the biggest red flags was the fact they lied about their licensing in Curacao. CasinoMeister called Curacao Chamber of Commerce and Industry to ask the licensing authority directly whether the casino was licensed in Curacao. The Chamber of Commerce said they had never heard of Revenue Jet — and they were not on their list of licensed online casinos.
The CasinoMeister announcement of the Worst Casino Group award also noted the group’s connection to the infamous Affactive Group, also known as NetAd Management. CasinoMeister wrote, “This casino group is directly connected to the rogue casino group Affactive. If anyone tells you different, they are lying too.”
Most of the complaints about Revenue Jet fell on other members of the affiliate group, such as OnBling Casino, ClassyCoin Casino, and Loco Panda. Still, Grand Parker received plenty of complaints. In only 3 years of operation, the site generated 64 complaints on Ask Gamblers. Of those complaints, only 31 were ever resolved — less than 50%.
Amount of Money Scammed from Players
According to the owner of Grand Parker Casino (Gary Shalon), the Revenue Jet and Affactive Group websites generated a combined $75.2 million in revenues in July 2012 alone. 15 months later, the same person claimed the sites generated almost the same amount (actually a little more) — $78.9 million.
Grand Parker Casino was only one part of this unregulated, illicit revenue stream. Between Revenue Jet and Affactive Group, the operators owned over a dozen online casinos. A dissection of these networks shows how the sites reinforced each other, helping to victimize the same gamblers over and over.
How the Scam Worked
The owners, Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein, are likely to have operated a central database with all the gamblers who had registered accounts at one of their casinos. In this way, they could send out promotional emails to potential customers. So if a player felt OnBling Casino had cheated them, they might stop playing at the site, but they might respond to an offer from Grand Parker or Loco Panda. Then, the scam would start all over again.
We can guess that’s how the scam worked, because Gery Shalon described a similar scheme to exploit people via email in the JP Morgan case. Such tactics are usually effective a number of times before the gambling community begins to see the picture. In the case of Affactive Group and Revenue Jet, the online player community never quite got the full picture, despite at least 11 years of scamming the public.
How the Scam Ended
Luckily for the international online gambling community, the criminal empire came to an end. Eventually, Gery Shalon and his accomplices went too far. Instead of sitting offshore and passively exploiting American gamblers, Shalon got to greedy and aggressive. He went after one of the largest American corporations. In doing so, he brought the full power and influence of the United States government down on his head.
JP Morgan-Chase, the biggest private bank in the United States, was hacked in July 2014. Its security personnel learned of the hack and eventually fixed it over a three-week period. In those weeks, the hackers gained access to the private accounts of 76 million American residents and 7 million American businesses. Preet Bharara called it the largest cyber-attack in the history of the United States.
American authorities thought that state-sponsored hackers from the Russian Federation had perpetrated the cyber-attack, for political reasons. They tracked the attack back to Moscow. However, analysts soon got the idea it might have been private individuals who hacked JP Morgan, because they seemed to be extracting information for commercial or financial purposes. After months, they tracked the hackers back to the United States and Israel. That’s when they took action.
Shalon and Orenstein Arrested
On July 23, 2015, Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein were arrested in Israel. An alleged accomplice, Anthony Murgio, was arrested in Florida. Murgio is said to have operated an electronic payment service, which is often associated with online gambling. The group had at least one other accomplice, Joshua Aaron, a man originally from Maryland. Joshua Aaron and Anthony Murgio had attended Florida State University a decade before and had been frat brothers.
According to the CBS local affiliate in Baltimore, Joshua Aaron (who is still at large) was described as the mastermind of the JP Morgan scheme.
The Times of Israel told a different story. Citing emails seized in the investigation, the Times of Israel portrayed Gery Shalon as the ringleader. His emails showed him cajoling the others to join the scheme.
Gery Shalon’s Emails
The emails can be taken in one of two ways. First, Gery Shalon is selling his alleged accomplices on the plan in the first place. He writes,
“Yes, this is a very cool idea….We need to think how we can do it.”
Later, after J.P. Morgan was hacked, he spoke to Joshua Aaron about what could be done with the information. He wrote to Mr. Aaron that the cyber-attack had gotten,
“probably 9 million unique [customer records]. We got what you wanted, so now show me how WE make out of it 100mil ($100 million) a year.”
This indicates that Gery Shalon might have been the mastermind, but Joshua Aaron was the technical genius (the hacker) who could execute the plan. Or it might indicate that the Joshua Aaron had sold the plan to the wealthier Gery Shalon, and now Shalon wanted to know how the mastermind was going to use this massive information cache.
A Small Step towards a Large Empire
Given earlier emails Gery Shalon sent, the Israeli online casino operator seems to have been selling the others on the idea. He told the group that the pump-and-dump scheme — how they would turn American financial records into huge profits — was but a small part of bigger plan. Shalon wrote that the pump-and-dump was,
“a small step towards a large empire….We buy them very cheap, perform machinations, then play with them.”
When asked whether Americans were good prospects for buying manipulated stocks, Shalon suggested stocks were a popular thing in the United States. Speaking of the American affinity for investment and trading, he wrote,
“It’s like drinking freaking vodka in Russia.”
Nothing to Be Afraid of in Israel
Joshua Aaron certainly tried to lure Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein into the plot. One of the ways he convinced them to join in the scheme was to suggest that they were beyond prosecution in their homeland of Israel. Joshua Aaron told Shalon and Orenstein,
“In Israel, you guys probably don’t have to be afraid of the USA…meaning that even if there is some case, they won’t be able to do anything?”
While Joshua Aaron was selling the scheme, he found an eager buyer. Gery Shalon’s response to Joshua Aaron was,
“There is nothing to be afraid of in Israel.”
That proved to be a remarkably bad calculation on the part of both men — and everyone involved in the scheme. U.S. authorities were able to extradite Israeli citizens to the United States. They were able to trace the electronic path from the United States to Moscow to Israel. In the end, the safe haven Shalon and Orenstein expected did not exist.
Grand Parker Casino’s Untimely End
On July 24, 2015 — the day after Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein were arrested — Revenue Jet affiliates were informed that the network’s domains and liquid assets had been seized. Revenue Jet and Grand Parker Casino were closing their doors. The owners were likely to face serious charges back in the United States.
Shalon and Orenstein were extradited to the United States in November 2015. They await trial in the case, alongside Anthony Murgio. Joshua Aaron remains on the loose and wanted by the FBI. He is thought to be in Eastern Europe, and probably in Russia. Those awaiting trial face over 30 charges. Each felony count carries with it a mandatory sentence of 5 to 20 years in federal prison.
As of 2016, Grand Parker Casino is no more. Nevertheless, there are many other trustworthy casinos online treating their players correctly.