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.

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Comments on “Is Figuring Out A Slot Machine Software Glitch & Making Money From It A Crime?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Crime isn’t about what is possible, it is about intent. His intent was to defraud the casino. It wasn’t “oops” and there is a jackpot, it is all about taking advantage of a weak spot and stealing the money.

By your logic, it would be fine to steal from the cash register at a store if they didn’t close the cash drawer completely, because that isn’t stealing, that is just taking advantage of a drawer closing glitch.

Sorry, but your logic is a fail on this one, completely.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I absolutely agree. I am involved in the gaming world (the legal/regulatory side), and it’s all about intent. Right is right and wrong is wrong.

As an aside, all slot machines in today should have something on them saying “Malfunction voids all pays and plays,” which saves the casino from being taken advantage of.

For the state in which I work, all slot machines go to GLI for independent testing. The people who test the machines are absolutely brilliantly minded people, but even they can’t catch everything.

There are also errors that can be made by the slot techs. There is quite a bit to optioning a machines, and this differs from manufacturer to manufacturer. Then, factor in different printers, bill validators, and other components and it becomes increasingly more difficult to avoid all errors. Setting up the currency wrong, could result a multi-million dollar error for the casino. This has been proven in the past by slot technicians who incorrectly setup a machine for caribbean currency instead of USD. This results in each credit a player puts into the machine, it is automatically multiplied by a variable based on the currency setting. In order to prevent this, the presence of gaming agents/gaming control board employees is required in many states. Thing such as bill testing a machine also prevents this from occurring.

Maybe a little off topic, but just some information for you all.

Hulser (profile) says:


Sorry, but your logic is a fail on this one, completely.

I think you’re making the mistake of looking at this from purely binary viewpoint. Go back and read the last sentence of Mike’s post. He suggested that the software manufacturers should bear “some” responsibility. And to this, I agree. Not all, but some. To use your example, let’s say that a cash register manufacturer makes a faulty batch where the cash drawer will not close properly and then open up by itself, perhaps after the cashier has walked away. A “drawer closing glitch”. The defect is found after a pattern of lost money is investigated. You’re telling me that the situation is so black and white that you wouldn’t see the manufacturer bearing at least some of the responsibility for the thefts?

Jan Breens (profile) says:

mis-use & hacking

this seems like a rather questionable way of looking at this issue Mike.

The laws around “computer hacking” have for years included specific points on any use/access that can be achieved through easy or simple methods (for example default passwords, or in this case, software bugs) that the user / offender KNOWS are unintended / unintentional. A quick google brings up this:

A person commits the offense of criminal use of a computer if, having no right to do so or any reasonable ground to believe the person has such a right, the person knowingly accesses, causes to be accessed, or exceeds the person’s authorized access to a computer, computer system, computer program, computer network, or any part of a computer system or network


This clearly (to me) includes what you describe above. Saying some liability, for the crime committed using a piece of software, should be directed at the software manufacturer seems equally distorted to me. Unless of course, serious negligence on the part of the manufacturer can be demonstrated. However in the case of a software bug that seems rather unlikely to me…

A computer system “allowing” someone to commit a crime doesn?t change the nature of the action undertaken by the person involved…

Anonymous Coward says:


Your analogy makes no sense. It would make more sense if there was a sign on the cash register that said “Please take any money from this while its open!” and then someone discovers a cash register that won’t close. You see, taking money out of a cash register is stealing, whereas taking money out of a slot machine is *its intended purpose*!!

Anonymous Coward says:


Your analogy makes no sense. It would make more sense if there was a sign on the cash register that said “Please take any money from this while its open!” and then someone discovers a cash register that won’t close. You see, taking money out of a cash register is stealing, whereas taking money out of a slot machine is *its intended purpose*!!

Jan Breens (profile) says:


Indeed they shouldnt. People may choose not to buy their faulty products, or the manufacturer should reimburse their customers for all those seriously flawed cash registers.

However saying their are implicated in (any liability, however small implies they are implicated) theft because someone stole from their register while it shouldn’t have been open is going too far in my mind.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Vary dark gray

I agree with AC#1 that what he did was fraud. The analogy was way off, but it’s still fraud. This guy didn’t just do it at one casino, he did it at multiple ones and they found he was planning to do it world wide.

Here’s my question; How much coding does there have to be to open this loophole? This is obviously a glitch in what controls the payout. So if this code can be so easily abused by this guy, how much easier could it be to abuse it by the casino itself?

Darryl says:

Altering the outcome of the game.

He didn’t technically hack the system — he just figured out a bug in the software and used that to his advantage. 🙂

Thats funny, as tecnically most would say hacking is figuring out a bug in the software and using that to your advantage !!!..

Casino’s have a rule, they apply, it’s called ‘altering the outcome of the game’. That means if you try to cheat in any way, if you try to alter the outcome of the game you are labelled an “undesirable” and you are blackbaned. From all casino’s as the work together.

Altering the outcome, could just mean bending the high cards in poker, card counting, late bets, and machine manipulation.

Again, you agree to those rules when you agree to use their services, and you have to accept what happens to you should you choose to willingly break those rules, or any laws that you may also be living under.

LeBazz (profile) says:


This story reminds me of a story that happened here in Quebec about 15 years ago. My friend’s uncle figured out the algorithm for the computerized Keno game at the Montreal Casino by sitting in for hours at the time, writing down every winning string the machine gave. He went back home, analysed the results, and found a way to predict which numbers the computer would give out, based on the previous winning string. He made a few houndred thousands in 2 days with his technique, but was evantually singled out by Casino employees. The interesting part of the story is how the Casino reacted to the event. They took his winnings away, banned him from the Casino, but they offered him a job to audit all their computerized systems. I believe he still works for them today…

Anonymous Coward says:


Well, if you keep doing it over and over, ripping off the guy who owns the machine, you are still stealing.

One time – huh, thats strange
Second time – satisfies your experimental curiousity

After that, there ought to be some moral obligation to let the guy who owns the machine know, so he isn’t out a bunch of money.

Anonymous Coward says:


Of course, but a slot machine is a totally different scenario than a cash register. It’s more like being able to read what a lottery ticket says before you buy it (the scratch off kind). Maybe its fraud, maybe its not, I don’t know. I’m on the fence here. I mean, they should be responsible for their own software, not the end user, right?

AJ says:

Altering the outcome of the game.

“Thats funny, as tecnically most would say hacking is figuring out a bug in the software and using that to your advantage !!!..”

I believe that would be exploiting or “glitching”

1. Make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource):

Hacking would indictate he “broke into” the computer, where in this case, he did not. He simply took advantage of a “defect”, in doing so he obviously commited fraud, but he didn’t “hack into” the machine….

Darryl says:

I hope that is not a surprise to you !!! :)

Its not a double standard at all, it’s what the patrons agree too when they enter the place.

And it is what the casino’s are required to do by law.

The Golden Rule with any casino, if you did not allready know, is “THE HOUSE ALWAYS WINS”.

Everyone one who goes to a casino and does not know that basic rule, should not go there.

If it is a margin call, the house wins, always.. and everyone who plays there is aware of that rule.

But im sure if you found a fault in software that showed it was not paying out the required percentage of money put in, (set by law), then you would be awarded a sum of damages, and the casino would be fined a great deal of money.

They have independent inspectors, to ensure slot machines are paying out the required percentage of what is put in.

And I know here in Australia, that value, has to be displayed on the machine.

How much has gone in and how much out, and how long ago the big jackpot has happend..

they have to do that, to abide by the law, and all they ask is you do the same..

anonymous says:

Not so gray

In the first example, the machine gave extra credit, a player may think this is the norm or some special event. Given the actual odds of winning on any slot machine, and even with the 10 to 1 increase in chances to win, the player will ultimately loose. I know, I work in the industry.

The second example is definitely a crime, there are multiple people perpetrating a crime to cheat a casino. Jail time!

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:


Ostensibly machines are overseen/tested by the state to ensure that they don’t defraud the customer (i.e. never pay out), but it does make you wonder: how would you know if one did?

It’s easy for a casino to claim that your winning is a software glitch, and therefore not valid, but who’s going to stand up and claim that your losing is a software glitch?

Hulser (profile) says:


the manufacturer should reimburse their customers for all those seriously flawed cash registers

By my reading, you’re contradicting yourself. First you say that the manufacturers should reimburse their customers — which would indicate that they are responsible to some measure — but then you say that are not “implicated” or have any “liability” — which would indicate that they are not responsible. So, which is it? Are you making some kind of semantic distinction between “responsible” and “liable”?

scarr (profile) says:

Honest questions

Is it fraud and/or theft if an ATM spits out an extra $20 when you make a withdrawal? I see these scenarios being fairly similar.

On that matter, is it fraud if a bank teller accidentally gives you extra money? It’s quite possible a person puts the money in his/her pocket either way, and doesn’t realize the error until much later. Is s/he guilty of a crime then?

Beta (profile) says:

Altering the outcome of the game.

  1. “Altering the outcome” makes very little sense, unless the rascal is equipped with a time machine. It looks like a legal term, not to be taken literally.
  2. Counting cards is not cheating, it is simply shrewd play. The casinos would like to declare it cheating, but they really can’t, so they engage in tactics like sneaking it into the middle of a list of actual cheating methods.
  3. The casino has the right to refuse your patronage (“blackbaned”?). They can shut their doors to you forever if you cause a disturbance. Or commit a crime. Or win too much. Or maybe if they just don’t like the color of your hat, I don’t know. So being barred does not mean you’ve broken the law.
  4. “…and you have to accept what happens you should you choose to… break those rules…” Yeah, it’d be a shame if you won too much and started having, I don’t know, kneecap trouble. (One more reason I’ll never bet a dime in a casino.)
Brian in New Orleans (profile) says:

insider help

People should read the details of the story. This guy just happened to “figure out” that if he convinced a casino employee to manually put the slot machine in Double-Up mode (off by default) and then press a sequence of keys the machine would pay out.

There’s no way someone just figures this out. An insider had to have helped: either alerting him to a software bug or purposefully placing a back door in the code.

Anonymous Coward says:

What i don’t understand was if some empoyee’s allowed him to hack the machine why would they take his winnings. I realize casino’s are in the business of taking peoples money but I would think that a couple thousand would be a small price to pay, plus if they just kick him out and he tells others “hey i just won a shit-ton of cash over at (said casino)” I would think that they would at lease take a look and waste some money.

Mike (profile) says:

Casino's encourage people to try to exploit bugs in slot machines

Actually I think they do.

Casino’s actively encourage people to think they can come out ahead of a slot machine, and people think they’re doing that all the time.

That’ why some people get upset if someone takes their “warmed up slot”, or why they’ll wager more after they see certain sequences.

I really don’t think a player should be penalized because they actually discover a way that works.

minijedimaster (profile) says:


The manufacture isn’t “implicated” or have any “liability” at all. Nor are they even obligated to replace the faulty units. Now it would be bad customer service not to fix the problem with the units in question and if they don’t other companies may not want to buy from them in the future. But none of this implies the manufacture bears any responsibility in the theft that has taken place.

Michial Thompson (user link) says:


In the latter case:

There is a HUGE difference between RESPONSIBILITY and LIABILITY.

The Slot Machine Manufacturer/programmer should share in the LIABILITY for the losses of the casino that are not able to be recovered.

As for RESPONSIBILITY for the crime, the guy intentially took actions to enable the machine to pay out more than the posted/expected returns. This action is where the FRAUD part comes into play. The ONLY people that should share in the RESPONSIBILITY for the crime committed is the guy commiting the crime, and any staff member that made changes to the machines settings WITH the knowledge of WHY the guy was requesting the changes.

In the former case where $1 was being registered as $10, that is simple THEFT. If not legal theft and least moral theft. The guy OBVIOUSLY knew that $1 was being counted as $10. His continued actions beyond the first time (maybe a second to confirm it) he realized that it was not working properly constitutes THEFT. Now if that glitch required ANY action other than simply inserting the coin to cause the error to occur then there should be no legal question as to it being theft or not. If it was simply inserting the coin I can see some gray area, but from a simply moral stand point it is still theft.

Anonymous Coward says:


from what I am getting he is saying that the manufacturer is responsible for the quality of their product and liable for providing a product of lesser quality than promised. Therefore they should be expected to be responsible for the amount of the product not the amount of the crime. It is the responsibility of the casino to verify the quality of the purchased product before putting it to use.

I have to say that I believe the first guy who got 9 free dollars for ever dollar put in the machine should not have been arrested, however the “high roller” is definitely “hacking” the system by forcing the machine to function in a way that would allow him a better return on his odds.

Irony says:

How Ironic

Let me preface this by stating that I think the high-roller guy was in the wrong since there’s a clear history of malicious intent.

With that being said, isn’t it funny how individuals are held to higher more moral standards than the actual casinos which steal money from people all day long? That’s how Las Vegas was built don’t forget. Sure you can say that these people are simply donating to the casinos, but depending on your perspective, the odds are so stacked against you for virtually all of the house games that the casino is, in effect, knowingly stealing from individuals. So who’s malicious intent is worse?

Hulser (profile) says:


But none of this implies the manufacture bears any responsibility in the theft that has taken place.

I think it does. But I’m mostly referring to a moral obligation, not necessarilly a legal one. Is the manufacturer legally responsible for, at least in part, the lost money? I don’t know, but probably not. But if you just ask the specific question “is the manufacturer partly responsible?”, I think the answer is clearly yes. In the hypothetical case of the cashier manufacturer and the real case of the slot machine manufacturer.

Rob says:


I could see it could be fraud if he himself put the bug or glitch in the machine. However if he’s just pressing buttons, he’s not really operating it outside it’s intended use. He’s just better at it than most button pushers. Kind of like baseball players exploiting the “hit it hard” glitch in a bat that I don’t know about.

Anonymous Coward says:

mis-use & hacking

You have to understand, this is how TD looks at many things. Piracy is wrong, it’s illegal, it’s violating the law, but because it is technically possible, it is somehow someone else’s fault.

No matter what defects may exist in the slot machine, the intent of the “high roller” was to defraud the casino. He didn’t win the money fairly, he took advantage of a programming glitch to rob them. No different from finding a door open and stealing what is in someones car or finding the door open to a store late and night and thinking it’s okay to steal their inventory.

It is truly a logical fail, and it explains why TD often has such a weird view of things.

The eejit (profile) says:

mis-use & hacking

Not really. TD has always said that piracy is against the law. What Mike and others often aregue, is that the laws should be changed in favour of the consumers, not faceless megacorps.

On this particular issue, however, I agree with those who find Mike’s conclusion questionable. Technically speaking, it is fraud. And being technically correct is the best kind of correct.

Greevar (profile) says:


Let’s put it this way. A person using one of those “self-checkouts”, that are popular at the larger stores, finds a glitch. By accident, the user discovers that the machine gives out more change than it should when you pay in multiples of 6. Now knowing this, the user takes advantage of the glitch. These machines have been authorized by the owners of the store to dispense transactions as it is programmed. The customer is merely interacting with the machine as it is programmed. The correct thing to do would be to ban the person from the store (as is their right), then report the glitch to correct it, and pursue any reparations owed. It would be difficult to prove intent to defraud the store unless the security video showed this person repeatedly using the checkout without leaving the store. I think it would be hard to do the same in the case of the casino due to the fact that many people will switch to different slot machines frequently. Using a machine glitch to beat a slot game is no different, in my mind, than counting cards. They don’t like it, but you didn’t actually break the law. They should kick you out and fix the flaw instead.

Cowardly Anon says:


No, his intent wasn’t to defraud the casino, it was to win. Big difference. Casinos are all about that allure of winning and they are run on it.

Gamblers do what they do to win money. He played the game and won money. Was it his fault there was a bug in the system the casino used? No. So why is it his fault for using that fault to win money.

Hell, by him asking the casino staff to modify the machines to his advantage and them doing it shows that he wasn’t exploiting anything but was playing the game. The casino staff could have said no, but b/c they were greedy and wanted more of his money the agreed.

And going to your analogy, it is flawed. If the cash register miscalculated the change back in your favor and the attendant gave it to you and you noticed, would you comment? Very few people would, but if you don’t are you trying to defraud the store?

Hulser (profile) says:


If it was simply inserting the coin I can see some gray area, but from a simply moral stand point it is still theft.

Whether the term “theft” applies in either of the cases is irrelevent to the point of whether the slot machine manufacture bears at least some of the responsiblity. The other poster, Jan Breens, may be viewing this in terms of legal liability, but Mike didn’t use that term. He just suggested that the manufacturer may be partly “responsible”.

One one side, I think that, if you intentionally “trick” a slot machine to give you more of a payout than you know you deserve, you should be punished according to the law. You knew it was wrong, but did it anyway. That’s very clear in my mind. But if you had to assign some subjective “responsiblity percentage” to the manufacturer for the overall problem, shouldn’t that be something greater than 0? In other words, regardless of whether the manufacturer is legally liable to provide reimbursement, can’t you at least say that their programming of the machine was part of the chain of events which directly led to the theft and therefore bears some moral responsibility? Or can a company just put out flawed products and have no responsibility at all?

Marcus Carab (profile) says:


I’m somewhat on the fence about this, and though I totally see your point here, I also wonder: what if the change machine was covered in flashing neon signs encouraging you to spend as much money as possible in it and tantalizing you with giant jackpots?

I’m curious to know if there are rules posted near the slot machine, because to me, slots seem like a “beat the machine” game: even though there is no actual challenge and nothing you can do to improve your odds, slots create a false sense of participation with all their bells and whistles (modern slots decide if you have won the instant you press the button, but they still drag out the process) – so if you actually do find a way to “beat the machine”, is that necessarily wrong?

average_joe says:


How can that be true for manslaughter?

You can have negligence that is criminal. A person acts negligently when he should have been aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a certain result will occur because of his conduct. The idea is that even though a negligent person is unaware of the risk and therefore does not have a “criminal mind,” the law will impute that awareness to him because a reasonable person would have been so aware.

CommonSense (profile) says:

mis-use & hacking

This guy didn’t do anything himself except use the slot machines. Any tinkering to the machine, as explained in the summary up there, was done by casino workers. Yes, he had to ask them, but they said yes and did the work.

By your logic, if I went to the batting cages, chose a cage that I knew had an adjustable throwing machine, asked an employee to adjust it so that it would throw a couple extra balls for my dollar and he agreed and did so, I would be guilty of a crime.

In the case of the casino, the only “crime” i see, is the foolishness of the casino workers to adjust the machines that this guy was winning on. This should be a lesson to the casino only, and they should fix their faulty machines.

Michial Thompson (user link) says:

How Ironic

The casinos are not steeling anything. The odds ARE against he gambler, that I agree with. BUT the Gambler walks in the door KNOWING that the odds are against them.

You cannot accuse the Casino of theft at all. Even though it may seem like theft, the rules are clear, the odds are clear, and the games are played consistantly. In cases of honest disputes that are resolved with judgement calls of the staff the staff gives the benefit of doubt to the customer etc…

The Gambler places the bets knowing clearly what the odds are.

Anonymous Coward says:

mis-use & hacking

Not really. TD has always said that piracy is against the law. What Mike and others often aregue, is that the laws should be changed in favour of the consumers, not faceless megacorps.

Really though, it’s the same thing. Fraud is illegal, but somehow TD appears to be shoving the responsibility off onto everyone else.

The piracy deal is the same. It may be illegal, but because it is technically possible and it happens because “the industry isn’t meeting people’s needs” it is somehow right. The burden of responsibility gets transferred to someone else, not the lawbreaker.

This case just makes the mentality and the logic so much clearer.

Anonymous Coward says:


That person using the self checkouts would still be breaking the law. As soon as they realize that they are getting too much change (or maybe all of their money back, whatever), and continue to do it, they have the intent required by law to be charged with fraud.

Using a machine glitch to beat a slot game is no different, in my mind, than counting cards.

Actually, it is very different. On the machine, you are doing something to steal money with certainty. Card counting is a skill, and is still not entirely certain. It is one of the reasons that most casinos play blackjack with multiple decks (usually 5 or more) and cut at least 1 pack up for the stop card. That all but entirely removes the card count benefit, unless a significant number of faces and aces come up very early in the shoe. Otherwise, the card count advantage is miniscule.

You are confusing outright fraud with attempting to gain an advantage. One is a game of change, one is no chance at all, it’s a certain payout.

Jason says:


You can’t arbitrarily assign a duty to this guy that he doesn’t have. It is not his obligation to expect to lose and report it as wrong when he doesn’t.

As for the 10 for 1 input, it’s not at all unreasonable for him to figure that this is a promotional scheme functioning as intended by the casino. Many casinos offer free money to play, and an automated 10 for 1 would be a great way to make that more efficient. Then you simply set the odds to account for this, but start with some friendlier promotional odds that reel in the players.

Later they’re still psyched up about getting the 10 for 1 promo, and the adjusted odds just begin to feel like maybe their luck has run out, but hey who cares if I’m getting to play 10 bucks for one. It’s perfectly natural for people to assume that Casinos do this sort of thing all the time. Why would he have even doubted this was the case?

DJ (profile) says:


“His intent was to defraud the casino. It wasn’t “oops” and there is a jackpot….”

Allow me to respond to your argument by using Mike’s own argument (hopefully you’ll see the irony in even arguing that point)

“Given that he was knowingly abusing this glitch, the fraud claims seem much more reasonable”

Moral: don’t argue with someone who agrees with you; it just confuses people.

Michial Thompson (user link) says:


WOW, I find it amazing how clueless some readers are…

My first statement WAS: there is a HUGE difference between RESPONSIBILITY and LIABILITY…. You then turn the meanind around to demonstrate your STUPIDITY….

Liability for losses NOT RECOVERED SHOULD fall on the manufacturer and NOT the casino. BUT the RESPONSIBILITY for the ACTIONS of the Gamblers still falls on them. They KNEW their actions were WRONG, the outcome OF their ACTIONS resulted in the losses and therefore their actions constitutes either FRAUD or THEFT depending on how the laws interpret the difference between theft and fraud.

EVEN little mikee got the definitions of Liability and Responsibility right… WOW

Huph (user link) says:

mis-use & hacking

Not really. TD has always said that piracy is against the law. What Mike and others often aregue, is that the laws should be changed in favour of the consumers, not faceless megacorps.

I think you’re right in that TD often encourages more sane laws in favor of the public vs corporations, but as far as piracy goes, my take on the TD line is that legality is a non-issue now that technology makes it hard NOT to copy something, what’s important is finding a way to make money in spite of it. Pragmatism is the name of the game.

Now the *comments* on TD run all over the map. There’s a lot of soft endorsement of illegal distribution, along with people who are outright loud about it. There are people who seem to think that artists are lazy chumps who want a free ride, and people who apparently have a problem with anyone exercising any legal muscle. Luckily there are some dissenting voices of reason, who are neither “IP Maximalists” nor “Freetards”. (All these phrases and sloganeering are dumb as hell and only serve to trivialize how complicated these issues really are. “Pooperty” anyone? Let’s cut out this ad campaign for issues and appeal to people through their reason and intellect)

I do kind of wish they would bring in some writers with more varied opinions. For instance, I agree with the criticism that TD loves to dispense business advice for musicians without any real clear idea of what goes into a musical career. The complicated web of credits and legalities that go into bringing multiple creative people together with their own input to and ownership of a project (We’re not all solo artists!), the insane logistics of performing on a consistent basis and taking it on the road, the idea that fans just buy the hell out of merch, the notion that the internet has made distribution *easier* (it’s not, it’s *cheaper*, but only to get started), and the idea that grass roots projects can “bubble up” to the surface without a professional PR push and management team (Amanda Palmer works with a publicist and several managers, besides the fact she’s “married” to Neil Gaiman, one of the most popular writers of the last 20 years. She’s not a model for future musicians). But the reality is that even a no name blogger is pitched music by major labels every day, so not having a professional management/publicist team to pitch you, more importantly to give you legitimacy, means your emails most likely will never be opened.

Now, it is true that some artists will in fact bubble up, but it’s mostly going to be boring mid-level talent with an interesting story behind them. Meh. I’d trade a thousand Susan Boyles/Ted Williams/Homeless Flavor of the Month for just one Jim Croce or Leonard Cohen.

MD2000 says:

Fraud vs. Winning

I cans ee the distinction; if you use the machine as intended, and win, then it is honest. If you know the machine is malfunctioning, and you take money knowing that was not the intent of how the machine operates, that is theft.

So if you figure out the number pattern (I remember the Montreal Keno case) then you are simply taking advantage of poor randomness; this the game as presented to you. If the shoe was not shuffled in Blackjack, is it fraud?

(IIRC, the problem with the Motreal Keno was widespread; just that Montreal was the only casino that rebooted the machine nightly, other casinos rebooted only once every few months. SO the pattern was more obvious there… and according to newspaper reports at the time, the casino employees were ticked because they had been milking the gravy train(?) for a while with small wins, this guy spoiled their cushy bonus system.)

OTOH, if amachine gives change 10 for 1, whether it’s a change machine or credits in a slot machine, that is an obvious malfunction and NOT part of the game. Actively making the machine malfunction is even more deliberate.

Even an accident on the money supplier’s side does not invalidate your obligation to be honest. If the cash register drawer pops open, you can’t help yourself. If the bank accidentally deposits $100,000 in your account (has happened), it is not yours. If you take the money and run, it is theft. If you acidentally thought it was the payout from your house sale which was about the same amount, no theft. ANd so on… intent (mens rea) is important too.

Does the supplier bear responsibility? legally, yes.They supplied a device purported to work a certain way, and it failed. With money-handling machines, there is an implied security understood to be part of the machine’s construction. If the failure was not incredibly subtle and should have been noticed, then the manufacturer is liable. If your car bursts into flames and explodes during conditions to be expected in driving (i.e. Crown Vics and rear-end collisions), then the fact that “we never promised it wouldn’t explode” is not a valid defense.

Jason says:


No. Mens rea is something altogether different than conspiracy.

Mens rea could be as simple as accidentally walking out of a grocery store with a cartful of unpaid groceries versus going to the store with the purpose of stealing the groceries and actually shoplifting them. In both cases the acts are identical, but if you can demonstrate the lack of intent (such as you were caught while on the way back into the store with your checkbook and pen in hand with a befuddled and apologetic lookk on your face), then there was in fact no crime even though the actions were identical.

md2000 says:

Csinos and Banning

I agree that card counting should not be considered cheating (unless it involves some device, electronic or mechanical).

Similarly, casinos are licensed by a limited monopoly from the state. If everyone can just go open a casino, then they can keep out whoever they want (except on grounds of race, creed, colour, sex, national origin…); when a company gets a limited monopoly from the state, they should be considered an arm of the state. They should not be able to ban anyone entitled to equal protection unless they are committing an offence; and card-counting is just smart playing. If the casinos were stupid enough to run a game that can be beat, that’s their problem.

Hulser (profile) says:


Liability for losses NOT RECOVERED SHOULD fall on the manufacturer and NOT the casino. BUT the RESPONSIBILITY for the ACTIONS of the Gamblers still falls on them.

Based on the above, it sounds like our thoughts on this topic are close, so why the ad hominem attacks? Have you considered the possibility that the person you’re talking to may not actually be “clueless” or “stupid”, but there may just be a simple misunderstanding between two people?

freak (profile) says:

insider help

Just like no one could ever “figure out” a username/password combination.

Or heck, just like no one ever figured out the konami code by themselves.

On a related note, the string “alexei” is usable as a game breaking cheat in 3 Final Fantasy games. In one, it skips all the battles with a ‘win’ condition, in another, it lets the ship move on land, and on the 3rd, it leaves a copy of a weapon/armour whenever you equip said weapon or armour.

Only took me a couple hundred hours of playing with the intent to find cheats to figure it out.

It might take patience, but it’s entirely possible. Old-time computer crackers used to sit down for hours at a time, waiting for an auto-dialler to find another computer system, and then wait hours at a time again guessing username/passwords.

Eugene (profile) says:

mis-use & hacking

From a civil standpoint, if I was that casino, I would sue the HELL out of that slot manufacturer for negligence in selling me a faulty product that put my business at risk. Which is pretty much what Mike is suggesting here in so many words. Why *wouldn’t* I?

To say the manufacture bears no responsibility whatsoever, simply because they didn’t do the stealing, is naive.

ECA (profile) says:


As with anything…

The more complicated you make it, the more that can go WRONG.
from a simple Display program to WHO KNOWS WHAT?

Its the same with all programs/hardware/and your Stove.
Make it SIMPLE and it will work every time.
Small compact and easy to service. The MORE CRAP you install and there are more chances to FAIL.

If you knew a way to make your car work better, would you do it? If you could make your Laundry washer work better, WOULD YOU? IF you could change things in your OWN FAVOR, WOULD YOU?

Jason says:

Dead link..

Mike, the yahoo news story you linked to in the previous story is no longer good. I found similar stories on the search results page that it redirects to, and they tell of people just putting in bills, not playing, and then taking out 10 x the amount. To answer the question, yeah if they kept that up, I’d say they should be arrested.

Anonymous Coward says:


All it proves is that even when presented with the obvious, TD soft peddles it and at best suggests it is “more reasonable”.

The argument is why you even start down this road. It is clear that this guy continued to use a defect in the system to defraud the casinos of money, and apparently even took steps to assure that the circumstances were right for it to occur. There is no “more reasonable” here, just fraud.

Arguing any other people is meaningless, because the illegal act still occurs.

Now, as a matter of contract law, might the machine maker have some sort of liability issue to the casino for the malfunctioning machine? It would depend on how that malfunction occurred. If it was a setup or operations issue, the answer would be no. If there was a clear bug in the software that happened regardless of the steps taken by the casino, then probably yes. But there is no direct liability connection between the player and the machine maker. Each of those is a separate issue, no one ball of wax.

Jesse says:

I hope that is not a surprise to you !!! :)

All interesting points. Knowing that the house always wins, I don’t go to casinos, so I didn’t know that the machines has set percentages they must pay out and that they are tested for this.

Even if you think this man was ‘cheating,’ I still think that card counting is not cheating. In that case, it’s remembering what has been played so far and being aware of your odds. Players can’t be charged because it is merely using information available to all, but casinos will ban you for life if they suspect you are using these tactics.

The double-standards exist. The only way the double-standard could tilt more in favour of the casino is if they simply outlawed winning altogether.

I don’t care that much because I don’t go to casinos, but I find it interesting how whiny they get when players find clever ways of tipping the scales. It’s one thing to hack a machine or steal, but it’s another thing to keep track of your odds as you play. Outlawing useful tactics is like outlawing winning.

Anonymous Coward says:

mis-use & hacking

We have a winner.

Soft peddling the legality of piracy isn’t the half of it. Really, they key is that all discussions start with “now that music has no market value…”, and doesn’t consider the idea that this condition is abnormal. When you start from an odd point of view like TD does, you end up down some dusty dirt roads of thought.

You won’t find many shining examples of musicians “making it”, because most of the examples that keep coming up here are bands who made it on the label system, or who are playing indie when they really are not. Some of the examples are artists on the back side of a good label career, selling their time to wealthy patrons who basically pay them to write music nobody will even listen to. On one side, it’s nasty to think of the artists talking down the label system, and then cashing the checks, living on their licensing deals, and collecting royalties up the wazzo every time their stuff plays, and on the other side you have people who most of us wouldn’t listen to if we were paid. That doesn’t make for much advancement.

I would give up all of the youtube age to get to sit through one more Frank Zappa concert. Damn, I miss his wit, skill, and intelligence (and potty humor).

Anonymous Coward says:

True story

A good friend of mine at college (late 80’s) discovered a way to beat a slot machine.
Essentially the machine allows you to gamble your 20p winnings up to 40 then 80p etc by pressing a button when a certain light was on. But the light was flickering in a non-regular fashion. If you were fast enough you’d always win, but noone was fast enough.

My friend knew (from a piece of research he’d done) that the “see light” to “press button” response time for most people rarely gets under 170ms, and so did the machine manufacturers.

If you could (say) manage 50ms superhuman response time, you could
1 – play for a while till you won a small amount
2 – double it by being fast enough
3 – bank half of the total
4 goto 2 and repeat ad infinitum

When you have banked ?50, press “payout” and collect winnings.

As you might imagine, he built a device with an optical sensor and a speaker coil to press the button, and cleared several thousand pounds in one weekend in a well known UK seaside resort. Paid his student debts, gifts for his parents, bought a very nice camera, as I recall.

He confessed afterwards that he was so terrified of gettuing caught while doing it that he found it the hardest cash he’d ever earned.

But the cash got spent and reluctantly he went back for a second weekend a few months later. This time he got caught. Fairly shady types took him in backroom for a while and (to cut a long story short) put him in fear of his life.
They brought in a so called plain clothes police officer who explained that playing a machine in a manner that was not intended was defrauding the machine.

Afterwards we all said that if there’d been a real case to answer they’d simply have handed him over to REAL police.
But he was scared enough that he was never going back. He destroyed his device and went back to being in debt like the rest of us.

Just thought I’d share that.

This story brought back some sweet memories…

Charles Mousseau (profile) says:

Altering the outcome of the game.

Altering the outcome, could just mean bending the high cards in poker, card counting, …

No, card counting is not ‘altering the outcome’. This is a myth promoted by casinos for obvious reasons, but card counting is not illegal, using information openly provided by the casino in calculating your winning odds is quite explicitly allowed. For example, if a sloppy dealer flashes his hole card, revealing a six in the hole to go with his face-card up, it is not cheating to modify your play accordingly (splitting any pair, standing on any stiff, doubling down on any hand that cannot bust, etc.)

Of course, they can still kick you out, restrict your right to vary your bet, etc. Just like they can kick a fat guy out of a buffet. No business can be forced to do business with a customer they consider unprofitable, nor should they.

If anyone’s “altering the outcome of the game”, it’s the casino who choose (for practical reasons) to deal a second hand (and subsequent hands) of blackjack rather than shuffle after every hand. And if they’re going to deal from a depleted shoe whose composition results in a player advantage, it’s certainly no crime to bet accordingly.

Zenith Nadir says:

Moral obligations go two ways

If the casino agents were to intervene upon recognizing that you the player were dangerously close to bankrupting yourself, well, than I might consider the notion that you the player have a moral obligation to inform them that their “one-armed bandit” is issuing unduly large and frequent payouts. Until then…casinos can go screw.

BestGames (profile) says:

In this last case I do not agree that using the game glitch was fraud. It seems to me ‘it was all part of the game’. But I would have to see the game to really say 100% that it was not OK. I think that it is the same thing as playing and winning a game that was poorly designed and let everyone win. You don’t see the casino refusing to take money from keno players – one game that is clearly designed in the casinos favor.

Adrian says:

I love the american laws!

It’s obvious that you, americans, are crazy. How can you say that even exploiting a glitch can be considered a crime??? The player has no guilt and it is the machine’s fault and you have to be really stupid not to take advantage of a situation like this. If the machine is faulty, it’s their job to remplace it, repair it, or face the consequences. Am I not right??

Ive seen it and done it myself!! says:

Winning the slots...

I was just curious and search google and found this posting.. Ive experienced similar events regarding the “machine cheat” not only did it happen at the Casino Montreal but also in local bars or places with video lottery machines around Quebec about 10yrs ago. The principle was , bet 1, payout X10. Made a killing but i was young and inexperienced. Worked only on certain games only. Lotto Quebec knows how to cOver up without the public knOwing. I was never arrested nor questioned but it made sense to me that my phone was tapped because it on certain calls i wasnt able to hang up. In my opinion I find that this “glitch” was obviously created by man on purpose. If u ask me ,ask the software creators. “don’t kill the user, kill the source”

Annonymous says:


Yes maybe “he’s logic” is wrong (I’m not saying it is) but you are only adding your little part that it could be considered stealing, But in fact no, no it is not.
The bug in the system is a ‘GLITCH’, And he used nothing but he’s own knowledge to take advantage of this bug, if anything you can only consider that this ‘bug’ and the casino was teaming with him because to call him a fraud or a thief is Bulls**t in their behalf, they simply just cannot handle watching someone changing their ‘perfect’ system.

bandit (profile) says:


the casinos rip off players on a daily basis. How can it be called gambling when its programmed to not let you win but instead if your smart enough to figure out the games patterns , your looked at as stealing. hmmm best thing to do in a situation like that is to keep your knowledge to yourself and keep getting them bastards as long as you know whats to come if you get caught.

Jayden Eden says:

That is a very difficult question. I believe that the programs running the machine should be tested thoroughly to prevent this anyway. If there are problems that aren’t found, that’s their own fault. On a different note, I was thinking the other day about an electronic air conditioning. Do they even exist yet?

mark wright says:


i was a gaming engineer in uk i worked in pubs, bingo halls and motorway service stations hartshead moor has a guy there who changes your money and gets you drinks, he told me that he knows of men going from service station to service station emptying them, i saw cctv at ferrybridge of 2 men who emptied it, they wer there 2 hrs, apparantly they trick the 20p hopper into believing its a £1 hopper,it is a button sequance he beliesves someone in the software dept selling these sequances,

John says:

How is it stealing I don’t get it . Your playing a computer in a game he takes your money all the time and doesn’t feel bad about it or gets charge with a crime because that’s the way they were program , so if you find a glitch in the system and your the better player and smarter now your stilling. I want to know what type of license casinos have that they can program computers to still your money I want one to

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