Finnish Teen Scams Malta Gaming Site, Gets Fined
In 2017, a teenager from Finland defrauded a popular Maltese online gambling site by making use of a system glitch.
There’s a lot of money to be made at online casinos, and some players resort to underhanded methods to lay their hands on all the riches. In 2018, a Finnish teen was sentenced to a fine of US$152,000 and placed under probation for his role in scamming a Malta-based online casino. The youth managed to exploit a glitch in the system, which allowed him to commit repeated gaming fraud. During the proceedings, it came to light that the boy’s parents were also involved in the scheme.
System Glitch Fraud
When the accused was 16 years old, he played at an online Maltese casino when he discovered a system glitch. The bug allowed the youth to request money refunds from the casino, even though he never lost any money. A casino usually issues refunds when a player reports that their account had been hacked or their credit card was used illegally. In this case, the boy requested 417 refunds between April and May of 2017.
The scam was uncovered by casino employees conducting an audit of all the refunds paid by the casino. At the time the fraud was discovered, the loophole was closed, and an investigation began. Initially, the investigators believed the teenager funnelled away nearly US$300,000 from the online casino, although later investigation adjusted this figure to U$152,000.
The judge ordered the boy to repay the stolen money and attached the casino’s legal fees to the damages, which amounted to US$3,500. The parents, who had a total of US$20,000 in their accounts, had to surrender the money to the authorities.
The teenager, who was 16 when the crime was committed, faced the possibility of being jailed. However, because he was still a minor, the youth received a suspended sentence of a year and eight months and a fine for aggravated fraud. His father, who deposited a portion of the stolen funds into his bank account, was sentenced to a five-month deferred sentence.
The boy’s mother, who had to surrender a motorcycle worth $5,770 and stolen money, received a 60-day deferred sentence for money laundering. As expected, none of the family members were permitted to gamble until their probation ended.
Online Casino Crimes
While Ocean’s 11 and other movies make casino misdeeds look easy, it’s pretty difficult to steal money from a casino. Not only is online casino crime costly, but it can also lead to increased scrutiny of a casino’s business practices. For example, in August 2017, the UK Gambling Commission fined 888 Holdings a record fine of US$10 million after the regulator found a glitch in the operator’s gaming software.
The glitch allowed over 70,000 people, who voluntarily banned themselves from the site, to access the provider’s bingo platform. Recently, a company in Australia was penalised for an error in their gaming system that allowed underage gamblers to bypass identity checks. In addition, Las Vegas sportsbook, CG Technologies, faced a possible license revocation in Nevada for glitches with its software system.
The bug allowed customer payouts to be misconstrued and enabled the site to continue to receive wagers after the games were over. Most distressing fact for the Nevada Gaming Commission was that the issue took out-of-state bets on mobile platforms that only permit Nevada players to play on.
Ultimately, technological glitches are an inevitable occurrence at any business. But online platforms that don’t scrutinise themselves or address apparent problems are subject to fines and license revocation.