Is Figuring Out A Slot Machine Software Glitch & Making Money From It A Crime?
from the apparently dept
Over the last few years, casinos around the globe have been using increasingly high tech slot machines, but with high tech slot machines come the usual bugs. And that raises some interesting legal questions. In the past, we’ve noted numerous examples of casinos blaming software glitches for slot machine awards, and refusing to pay them out. And, usually, they’re being allowed to do this. That seems a little troubling, but it can get a bit more complex, as in one case a few years ago, where a guy used a slot machine that had faulty software — and was arrested for doing so. Each time he put in $1, it was credited as $10. Now, once he realizes this is happening, perhaps you can consider that fraud, but it does seem a bit dangerous to blame the guy for what was really a software glitch by the casino or slot machine vendor.
The latest such case, found via Slashdot, might not be quite as troubling. In this case, a guy more or less figured out a software glitch in a variety of slot machines that would enable a series of button presses that would lead to larger awards, and then he used that to win a lot of money. Now, I can definitely see the case for fraud here (and the guy has now been arrested). He didn’t just spot a machine with a glitch, but he then actively exploited that glitch, knowing it was a glitch, and took steps to enable that glitch on various machines (to make it work, he apparently had to have casino staff change some settings on the machines, which they would do since he was a “high roller.”)
Given that he was knowingly abusing this glitch, the fraud claims seem much more reasonable. However, there is still something worrying about charging someone for a crime for doing what a computer system allows them to do. He didn’t technically hack the system — he just figured out a bug in the software and used that to his advantage. There is at least some gray area, concerning whether or not some of the liability should fall back on the maker of the slot machine for leaving such a glitch in their software.