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Video Poker Landmark gambling case starts 8/20

Discussion in 'Video Poker' started by ajonate, Aug 8, 2013.

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  1. ajonate

    ajonate Low-Roller

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    A criminal gambling trial is set to start August 20th here in Las Vegas. This is a case where two guys figured out a way to make a video poker machine pay out more than was deserved through a software bug. The exploit didn't involve any cheating device or illegal entry into the machine. They just figured out a way to make the machine do what they wanted by using the machine's regular player interface.

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/05/game-king/

    They were originally charged with two counts of hacking and one count of wire fraud, all filed in federal court. The DOJ reviewed the case and found that hacking charges should be dropped. They will still face trial for wire fraud.

    The question here is whether a player can lawfully exploit a gambling machine's software bugs by using only the machine's human interface controls that he is otherwise authorized to use.
     
  2. ardee

    ardee VIP Whale

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    ...Yeah, but the charges are that he (and his buddy) used the interface to alter the payout, not that they altered the play of the game itself.

    I'll bet this will be settled out of the courtroom. Most likely they'll agree to not setting foot in
    any of the named casinos again in exchange for little or no financial penalties to the accused.
    Then the case will go away quietly...which is what the gaming company, casinos and legal reps really want.
     
  3. FXT

    FXT VIP Whale

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    Thanks for sharing. Why arent the casinos going after International Game Technology to recoup their losses? It was their machine that had the glitch...
     
  4. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

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    I think that most of this was already covered in a previous thread that was pretty extensive...................
     
  5. ajonate

    ajonate Low-Roller

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    I don't know that a federal wire fraud charge is the best way for them to prosecute this. I suspect they were only in federal court was because they wanted to press hacking charges. I think Nevada statute is a lot more specific for that they did. Look at #5 under 465.070.

    http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-465.html#NRS465Sec070

    5.  To place or increase a bet after acquiring knowledge of the outcome of the game

    The past-posting statute is pretty clear. Regardless of whether the the machine allowed him to increase his bet after the outcome of the game was known, it is still illegal to do so. I don't know what his defense to that statute might be. But, that's not what's he charged with. He's charged with federal wire fraud crimes.

    But he only got caught because he was being obvious. In the same casino, in the same machine, on the same day he won 5 hand-pay jackpots, the last for $8,200. If he had kept it to one jackpot under $1000 per casino per week, he might still be doing it today.
     
  6. VegasDave

    VegasDave Addicted

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    I bet it is in a contract with them one way or the other, but this is a good point. At what point is the gaming company held liable for their mistakes, accidental or not.
     
  7. ardee

    ardee VIP Whale

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    If there is no precedent set or state gaming regulation to cover it, then there is no liability.
     
  8. WrongWayWade

    WrongWayWade VIP Whale

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    I still haven't figure out why they are trying to prosecute these guys for cheating instead of just getting their money back by invoking the 'machine malfunction voids all pays' deal. Perhaps once they pay the jackpot, they lose their right to do that.
     
  9. ND80

    ND80 Low-Roller

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    Just guessing but probably to serve as a warning to others
     
  10. Terry Benedict

    Terry Benedict VIP Whale

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    The hammer and the money... or walk away.
     
  11. MikeOPensacola

    MikeOPensacola VIP Whale

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    Completely agree with this assessment. If they don't settle I can see a hung jury from 2,200 miles away......:peace:
     
    Annual Summer Bliss in the Land of Milk and Honey!!!
  12. buffalo

    buffalo Low-Roller

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    It makes you wonder about all the cheats and loopholes we never hear about because the exploiters were smart enough to keep it under the radar.
     
  13. Terry Benedict

    Terry Benedict VIP Whale

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    Agree. The successful cheaters, crooks, and anglers are the ones we never heard of.
     
  14. engicedave

    engicedave VIP Whale

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    Considering the machine and programming was unaltered by the player(s) and was "as is" from the factory (IGT), I see this as little more than advantage player play, exploiting a player edge in the game, same as counting cards in BJ, which is NOT illegal. The edge the player(s) found were existing in the system, open to anyone who discovered it.

    In my opinion, it is not the player's responsibility to report a player advantage in a game, table or electronic, to the casino's, who's job it is to minimize the player advantage and exploit their own advantage to it's maximum possible potential.
     
  15. Kickin

    Kickin Flea

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    He couldn't do that. If you read Exhibit 1 of the defense filing (the engineer's report) it explains that the bug could only be exploited on wins that required a hand-pay. Here's the text:

    In the case of a multi-denomination configuration, the exploit can be performed on any win that will, trigger a handpay when evaluated at a higher denomination than the currently selected denomination, provided that the original win is not already over the handpay limit.

    So there is a tight limit to how "under the radar" he could have been. I posted a thread about this case a couple of months ago where a lot of this was hashed out already.

    As far as the "landmark" quality of this case I think that part has already been decided. The big reach by the government were the hacking charges under the CFAA, but after getting the court's opinion that the act didn't apply the feds dropped those charges. That was a big win for the defense. Wire fraud charges are a different story and they are very broad, that is the only charge remaining.
     
  16. Lord Suspect

    Lord Suspect Low-Roller

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    Very interesting, thanx for sharing. I doubt the criminal charges will be affirmed by a jury.
     
  17. ajonate

    ajonate Low-Roller

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    As a follow-up to this thread, all federal charges were dismissed by the prosecution so the judge dismissed the case in November 2013. I haven't heard of any state charges being brought. It looks like they'll totally walk on this one.

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/11/video-poker-case/

    I've believed all along that this was not a case of hacking, but that state past-posting laws might apply. After all, regardless of whether the machine let him do it, there is no denying that he changed his bet after learning the outcome of the game. Evidently local prosecutors don't believe they have a strong case for past-posting.
     
  18. joshrocker

    joshrocker VIP Whale

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    I'm glad they walked. If they didn't alter the machine in any way I don't see how this is "cheating". Maybe not ethical, but I don't think it's criminal.
     
  19. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    This pretty much sums it up, imo.
     
  20. undathesea

    undathesea Grandissimo

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    I'm just wondering who fits the bill for all of the legal fees they had to encounter because the gov't brought false charges against them.

    Seems like someone should repay them that expense.
     
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