- Category: The Racing Tour
- Published: Saturday, 22 May 2010 09:33
- Written by Super User
- Hits: 7129
Four years ago, John Kane, an ardent gambler, discovered a firmware bug in IGT’s Game King video poker machine in Vegas. The software bug, which had gone unnoticed until then, allowed Kane to play a prior winning hand from another game at ten times the original value. The Game King is built for many different game variations, such as Deuces Wild, Double Double Bonus, and Texas Holdem, which enabled Kane to activate the bug. His friend, Andre Nestor then accompanied him after this discovery to take advantage of the bug at a series of casinos, including one in Pennsylvania where Nestor won $400,000 as a result.
The court battle began when the Game King machine which Kane had last used was inspected and the secret behind his winning streak was discovered in not only that machine but nine other IGT machines as well. The question then came down to whether it was a criminal violation of federal anti-hacking law for Kane and Nestor to knowingly take advantage of the glitch to win at least half a million dollars. Prosecutors said it was and charged both defendants with 3 felonies, 2 of those counts being charged as federal anti-hacking laws under the CFAA.
Prosecutors justified their use of the federal anti-hacking law to charge the defendants by stating that the complex sequence of button presses needed to activate the bug made it a form of hacking. They also felt that the entire purpose of the game, and poker in general, was defeated by being able to access previously played hands of cards. The defense argued that they were simply pushing a sequence of buttons that they were legally entitled to push. After all, the bug was activated only by using the buttons already available on the machine for players to use.
In the end, the CFAA, having been tested many times in the past with similar cases, was not enough to hold Kane and Nestor accountable for hacking. The Vegas prosecutors were forced to drop all federal hacking charges from case and the Court dismissed the two counts which were filed under the CFAA for federal anti-hacking. The defendants are left with one remaining charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, another federal law, but one without the accusation of hacking. The trial is set for August 20, but, at least the defendants have been spared federal hacking charges under the CFAA which were proven to be unviable for such a case..