Nimesh Bhagat and Andrew Ashley worked by day as IT problem analysts for a large casino group. They were successful IT contractors however they used their technical knowledge to devise a way to steal thousands from casinos by forging winning betting slips.
The two analysts stole at least £33,000 before they were caught by accessing software which was used to control the remote betting machines at four London casinos.The pair both admitted the theft which took place between July and September 2007. Due to their guilty pleas the pair escaped with suspended sentences of 12 months each. This scam was concerned with the betting terminals you can find at casinos, these are used to allow punters to place bets on roulette wheels without actually being at the tables. The pair used their knowledge of these systems to print out winning tickets without the win actually taking place. The tickets where then cashed for the winnings.
It was actually quite simple for them to use their their knowledge to ensure that the machine printed out a winning ticket whatever the result of the bet placed. In fact the only reason they were caught was a combination of carelessness and greed. A cashier noticed that a winning ticket contained an impossible payout of 600, the wager had been a 10 pound bet at odds of 35-1 !! Officials where then able to trace back a string of suspicious wins back to the two individuals who were both employed as problems analysts by the casino group.
Both pleaded guilty to theft under the 1968 Theft act. The court sentenced them to serve 200 hours of community service in addition to the suspended sentences. They were also ordered to pay back approximately 16000 pounds each to their ex employers.
Det Insp Ann-Marie Waller said:
These men not only used their intimate knowledge of two complex systems to break the law and make these fraudulent claims, they also breached the trust of their employers.
The convictions are surprisingly, probably the first where individuals have been caught manipulating the extensive computer systems that run the UKs thriving gaming industry. The use of technology to enhance our gaming experiences obviously brings risks of games being manipulated. To see a proper live roulette wheel – have a look here.
There are many instance of ‘Poker bots’ being used to play online poker games for cash and the manipulation of online roulette games is obviously very easily achieved by quick change of code in a Random number generator for instance! My distrust of these computer simulated wheels only grows when I read stories like this, although to be fair even live roulette could easily be faked – I’d like to see the Dublin Bet live video stream cut to the clock in the casino occasionally, although to be honest when I’ve visited the Fitzwilliam Street casino I don’t actually remember ever seeing one!