A gang of fraudsters were able to turn an Australian gambling casino’s sophisticated surveillance system against it as they perpetrated an extraordinary of $33 million AUD (£22 million) poker fraud, it has been reported.
Evoking inevitable comparisons with the famous 1960 heist movie Ocean’s 11, the raid earlier this year on Melbourne’s Crown Towers casino should have been impossible given the array of surveillance technology employed by the gambling house to defeat rogue ‘high rollers’.
This kind of security system works well as long as they information relayed doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, which in this case it appears to have.
Using an insider able to access the computer-based CCTV system feeds, the gang used an earpiece setup to relay information on the card hands held by rival players to a ‘whale’, a big-betting player known to tolerate losing large sums.
In the course of eight hands, the unnamed man won stake after stake, eventually arousing enough suspicion for an investigation to be launched that led to his ejection from the building during the night.
Casino scams on this scale are presumably extremely rare but far from unheard of. Most remain the subject of legend, left unconfirmed by casinos anxious not to encourage others to try their luck with similar scams.
Usually, even a legitimate player winning on that sort of run would be asked to leave.
"The problem with casinos is that they believe they are unbeatable. And we see over and over again that they're not unbeatable,” gambling security consultant Barron Stringfellow told Australia’s ABC News.
"If casinos would monitor for wireless transmissions, they would be able to thwart these plans at the onset," he said.
Crown Towers, located in one of Melbourne’s tallest buildings, believes it will recover much of the lost money.
In the world of remote hacking, gambling websites remain one of the most attacked on the Internet, but more usually suffering remote DDoS or web attacks.
The most infamous recent example was that of a UK hacker who in 2009 successfully gained admin access to the Zynga gambling site, stealing 400 billion virtual poker chips.