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IT contractors convicted of UK casino hack scam

Hustlers hamstrung by basic maths booboo

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A pair of UK hackers who used false betting slips in a bid to con casinos into paying out on bogus gambles were undone by greed and a schoolboy maths error, a court heard.

Andrew Ashley, 30, and Nimesh Bhagat, 31, were each handed a suspended jail sentence of one year after they pleaded guilty to theft over a plot involving the mock-up of false winning betting slips for live roulette wheels running at four Gala Casinos in London.

The duo took the casino for an estimated £33,000 in the summer of 2007 after hacking into casino systems to print out winning slips valued at up to £600, irrespective of the number that actually dropped on the wheel, The Daily Telegraph reports.

However, the scheme came unstuck after an alert cashier noticed a winning slip for £600 for a £10 bet at odds of 35-1. The casino launched an investigation that unearthed a string of other suspicious bets, traced back to Ashley and Bhagat, IT contractors working at the casino at the time of the scam.

The two were ordered to pay back £16,000 each in restitution to the casino and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service at a sentence hearing at Croydon Crown Court last week. In addition, they face 12 months behind bars if they violate a good-behaviour order at any point over the next two years.

The case, reckoned to have been one of the first involving the misuse of computer technology within the UK gaming industry, was investigated by Scotland Yard's clubs and vice unit. Police used CCTV footage from roulette table terminals at the casino and computers seized from the men's homes in unravelling the case. ®

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