Federal Case Dropped Against Video Poker Hackers

Las Vegas prosecutors have dropped hacking charges against a couple of men they were investigating for using a software bug to win a ton playing IGT video poker. This has put an end to an 18-month legal case to determine whether the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act was applicable.

“The United States of America, by and through the undersigned attorneys, hereby moves this Court to dismiss Counts 2 and 3 of the Indictment,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Chu.

The two men, John Kane, 54, and Andre Nestor, 41, now face one charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Their trial will take place on August 20, 2013.

In 2009, Kane uncovered a firmware bug in IGT’s Game King video poker machine which made is possible to play back a prior winning hand at ten times the original wager. He involved Nestor and the two went across Las Vegas using the bug to their advantage at several casinos. Nestor ended up back in Pennsylvania and took one casino for $400,000 playing video poker.

Prosecutors attempting to argue that that their actions were indeed hacking based on the sequence of button presses required to activate the bug but defense lawyers argued that the men played the machine as it was made.

“The case never should have been filed under the CFAA,” said Kane’s lawyer, Andrew Leavitt. “It should have been just a straight wire fraud case. And I’m not sure its even a wire fraud. I guess we’ll find out when we go to trial.”

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