Hackers Charged in Vegas Video Poker Scam

/ Source: SecurityNewsDaily

Federal prosecutors charged two men with conspiracy to commit computer fraud after they allegedly used a technological trick to make video poker machines pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Andre Nestor of Pennsylvania and John Kane of Las Vegas allegedly rigged gaming machines at several Las Vegas casinos over six weeks in the spring of 2009, according to a report in  Wired.

A criminal complaint filed Monday (Jan. 3) in Las Vegas explains how Nestor and Kane would make a number of small bets until winning a hand. Once they won, they would use a special button sequence to change the machine’s credits to a higher denomination. This inconspicuous rigging would cause the machine to pay out another jackpot, but the payout would reflect the newly – and illegally raised -- wager.

Speaking to WTAE-TV, Nestor said what he did was not a crime, and was no different than counting cards, which is frowned upon on the casino floor but not against the law.

“I’m being arrested federally for winning on a slot machine,” Nestor told reporters. “It’s just like if someone taught you how to count cards, which we all know is not illegal. Someone told me that there are machines that had programming that gave a player an advantage over the house. And that’s all there is to it. Who would not win as much money as they could on a machine that says, ‘Jackpot’? That’s the whole idea!”

Nestor is also accused of pulling the same stunt at the Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Pennsylvania, where he allegedly netted more than $400,000.

Cybersecurity experts say that where there’s money, there are bound to be criminals, so it’s certain this won’t be the last casino cybercrime incident.