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Finnish Teen Scams Online Casino 417 Times for €250,000

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In April 2017, Finland's youth unemployment rate stood at around 20%, but one enterprising young man found a way to make money without subjecting himself to the uncertainties of the job market. The teenager, described as being “about 18 years old” at present, discovered a glitch in the software of an online casino that he allegedly exploited to transfer more than €250,000 (approximately $290,000) of the gaming site's funds to himself. According to Finnish media outlet YLE, which broke the story, he now faces charges of aggravated fraud in a Finnish court.

More About the Incident

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The casino involved in this case has remained unidentified in media reports although we do know that it's licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority. The supposed perpetrator of the scam, a resident of the southern Finland town of Forssa, is said to have created an account at the casino using a fake date of birth. He then uncovered a flaw in the cashier interface that permitted him to cancel withdrawals and have the same money sent both to his gaming account and also to his bank account.

Map Showing Location of Forssa, FinlandLocation of Forssa in Finland

Between April and May 2017, this individual allegedly made 417 transfers in this manner totaling more than a quarter million euros. At first, management was unaware that anything was amiss, but in July 2017, an employee of the internet casino figured out what was going on. The casino asked that the underage patron return the cash, but the young man refused.

Charges Filed

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On Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, the suspect was charged with aggravated fraud in the Kanta-Häme District Court. He doesn't deny receiving the money from the online casino, but he claims that the error was the gambling firm's responsibility, not his own.

The family of the main suspect is also being charged. His father received a transfer of €14,000 of the illicit money into his bank account. His mother got €2,300, and she was also found in possession of a €5,000 motorcycle, which the prosecution says was purchased using some of the funds from the online gambling site.

Prosecutors are demanding a sentence of 20 months for the son. They will try to get a suspended sentence of five months for the father and a suspended sentence of lesser length for the mother. The Court is expected to render its verdict Sept. 3.

[UPDATE: September 13]

All three defendants in this case were found guilty and sentenced on Sept. 3. The son was convicted of aggravated fraud although because he was a minor at the time of his illegal actions, his suspended sentence of one year and eight months is not as severe as it probably would have been had he been above the age of 18.

He also must return €132,000 of the casino's money and pay €3,000 of the firm's legal fees. The amount stolen from the gaming site was initially reported as being greater than €250,000, so it's unclear why the sum he must hand over is so much less. It could be the case that total transfers involving more than €250,000 consisted partly of the casino's cash and partly of the teenager's own money as well as euros “recycled” to and from his bank accounts, e-wallets, and gambling account. Thus, the overall value of what the casino lost may well have been lower than €250,000.

The young man's father was handed a five-month sentence for money laundering and ordered to forfeit €14,500. His mother got a suspended sentence of just 60 days, and she will also have to return €2,300 plus the €5,000 value of the motorcycle that she had purchased with stolen funds.

All three of these sentences can be appealed, and so they will not be immediately enforced.

Historical Casino Glitches

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Though they're not exactly common, casino software mistakes that enable customers to collect additional money aren't unknown. However, almost every online casino has language in its terms of service that state that all winnings derived from software errors are null and void. Thus, even when an error occurs, casino operators have a certain amount of protection from these unpredictable events.

Logos of PlayNow and BetFredTwo of the Well-Known Online Casinos That Have Suffered Software Errors

Earlier this year, a semi-retired customer of BetFred was playing “Frankie Dettori's Magic Seven Blackjack” on his mobile and won a progressive jackpot of £1,722,923.54 (more than $2.2 million). Despite the fact that staff members confirmed the win, the casino refused to pay, citing a system error.

A bizarre technical snafu affected the PlayNow Casino run by the government of British Colombia, Canada, when it first opened for business in 2010. Some customers who logged on to the platform were able to bet with others' money, at least until the site shut down temporarily and redistributed the funds in question to the correct owners.

There are even exploits available to take advantage of casino mistakes in live settings. Prominent poker pro Phil Ivey is adept at “edge sorting”: a baccarat technique involving the memorization of imperfections on the backs of playing cards. By tracking identified cards and adjusting their bet sizes accordingly, players can assure themselves of an advantage against the house. Unfortunately for Ivey, he was denied his winnings at Crockfords Club in the United Kingdom, and the Borgata in Atlantic City successfully sued him to reclaim its money.

Photo of Phil IveyPoker Expert Phil Ivey Had Better Stick to Poker and Avoid Engaging in Shady Baccarat Tactics

Try to Win a Big Payday Legitimately!

Chips, Cards, Dice

Counting on casino mistakes for a profit is a fool's errand because they're pretty uncommon, and even if you should discover one, it's probable that the operators will fail to honor your win. If your actions are especially egregious, you may even find yourself in legal trouble as the Finnish young man described above did.

It's far better to try to gamble on the square at a reputable online casino. We've prepared a list of the leading internet casinos for Americans so that you can select a trustworthy place to play. If poker is more your speed, then be sure to check out our USA online poker guide. For betting on sports, you can browse over to our top online sportsbooks.

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