Four individuals have been detained in Bulgaria after an operation by the General Directorate Combating Organized Crime (GDCOC) uncovered that they had defrauded casinos and gaming halls across the country out of large amounts of money by hacking their gaming machines.
The operation was carried out by GDCOC’s cybercrime unit. The four arrested individuals were found out to have devised a particularly sophisticated scheme for obtaining remote access to gaming machines at casinos and halls. They were thus able to manipulate the outcome of slot machine games and generate large profits in the process.
Each of the four individuals was assigned to a particular role. One of them had to simulate playing on slot machines, while the others accessed the machines remotely to meddle with the games’ outcome. Another member of the organized crime group had to secure the remote access and thus control the gaming devices.
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There was also a person among the arrested individuals who was responsible for crafting the electronic devices that manipulated remotely the gaming machines’ software.
The four individuals were arrested shortly after they had hacked the slot machines at yet another casino and had collected their winnings from it. GDCOC also seized a large amount of money and different devices used by the organized crime group to meddle with the slot machines.
The detained individuals are set to be forwarded to judicial institutions and charged under Bulgarian law.
Other Major Casino Scams
While the activities of the recently uncovered Bulgarian organized crime group were the result from a very clever scheme that involved remote access to gaming machines, this was not an isolated incident of people trying to scam casinos out of money.
In 2012, a New York crime ring that comprised between 50-70 individuals was found to have devised a roulette scam and to have successfully ripped off multiple casinos across the United States before eventually being caught in Ohio.
In the scam, players (members of the gang) entered a roulette game with extremely low bets. Some of the players pocketed chips of one color or another while another player was tasked with distracting the dealer. A player at the roulette table then excused themselves to hand the chips stolen to another gang member. That another member then used the stolen chips to play at tables where their value was significantly higher.
The player was thus able to cash out at the new and higher rate.
The group reportedly acted for years. Its activities were eventually uncovered in Ohio. The Ohio Casino Control Commission said back then that members of the group were able to collect between $1,000 and $2,000 per scam at the state’s casinos.
However, it was hard to determine how much exactly the gang managed to rip off casinos across the country over the course of its activities.