[ISN] Silicon Crackers Tackle Casinos

From: cult hero (jerichoat_private)
Date: Mon May 03 1999 - 04:00:33 PDT

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    Forwarded From: William Knowles <erehwonat_private>
    Silicon Crackers Tackle Casinos
    by Vince Beiser 
    3:00 a.m.  3.May.99.PDT
    LAS VEGAS -- Dennis Nikrasch has been tried, convicted, and sentenced to
    seven-and-a-half years in Nevada state prison. Still, no one really knows
    how he stole that US$6 million. 
    What is generally agreed on, though, is that Nikrasch, 57, is one of the
    greatest slot-machine cheats in history -- and the most technologically
    "Nikrasch," said Keith Copher, chief of enforcement for Nevada's Gaming
    Control Board, "is the most sophisticated cheat we've seen." 
    Nikrasch started out in the 1970s, rigging mechanical-reel slots. His
    skills, however, have kept pace with the times. Last fall, a months-long
    FBI investigation nailed him and several confederates for scamming
    millions in cars and cash by cracking the silicon chips that control
    today's computer-based slot machines. 
    Nikrasch is only one of a growing number of hustlers using advanced
    technology to rip off casinos. In belated response, the gambling industry
    is just beginning to deploy state-of-the-art security technology. 
    The stakes of this technological race are mounting rapidly, as the
    multibillion-dollar gambling industry spreads across the country. Slot
    cheating alone is estimated to cost casinos some $40 million a year. 
    The equipment is easy to come by. You can buy an astonishing array of
    devices to help you cheat at slots or cards at the Hackers Home Page, for
    Counting cards is not illegal; using a device to help you do it, however,
    is a felony. That hasn't deterred a generation of grifters from putting
    the ultimate counting devices -- computers -- to work for them. 
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