Software Glitch Ignites $2 Million Cash Rain at Sydney’s Star Casino

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In the bright and bustling heart of Sydney, Australia, a spectacle unfolded at the Star Casino. Over a dizzying two-week period last July, millions of dollars were unwittingly spilled out by the casino due to a software glitch. An unforeseen coding mishap had caused a rain of cash, leading bemused gamblers and their gleaming eyes to an unexpected bonanza.

The Star Casino, presently under the microscope in a second gaming investigation, was ignorant of its own magnanimity until a staggering six weeks later. Roughly two million dollars had been handed out unwittingly, an error underscored by a glaring digital anomaly.

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The hiccup was born as a result of a software update incorporated into the Casino’s Ticket In, Cash Out (TICO) machines. It turned into a discreet cash tornado when the machines started giving out the ticket’s sum while allowing the same ticket to be cashed out again. Gamblers realized that redundant tickets turned into bottomless cash trunk, leading an unforeseen payout totaling over two million dollars.

Star Casino Manager, Nicholas Weeks, attributed the failure to identify this unexpected and costly generosity to a systemic blunder across various teams and individuals. However, the ‘misfortune’ of the glitch had not equally distributed, with 43 patrons reportedly benefitting from the sporadic cash geyser. Among these individuals was a recovering gambling addict, Thanh Lan Le, who recounted her relapse triggered by watching a friend exploit the glitch, then succumbing to the lure herself.

In a candid conversation with the Sydney Morning Herald, Le confessed to withdrawing a sizable sum of $57,265 over ten days. Tragically, when she eventually ended her dalliance with the generous machines, she had gambled away all but $5,000 of the windfall.

In an ironic twist, the blissful day turned bleak when the Casino self-corrected and identified the lucky beneficiaries. The 43 individuals were reported to the police, resulting in arrests including that of Le, on charges of fraud, participation in a criminal group, as well as knowingly dealing with the proceeds of a crime.

Stricken by remorse, Le pleaded guilty to dishonestly obtaining property by deception and expressed her willingness to repay the money. “I understand it was my fault,” she told the Morning Herald, “I had deceivingly taken it, but the machine was giving us money.”

This incident resurfaced during the second NSW Independent Casino Commission inquiry into Star Entertainment’s operations. The inquiry explored previous allegations brought against Star Entertainment in 2022, when it was found unsuitable to hold a Sydney casino license due to lapses in security, facilitating money laundering, criminal infiltration and fraud.

To heighten the intrigue, former Star CFO Christina Katsibouba testified during the inquiry, claiming that the casino’s head of investor relations, Giovanni Rizzo, allegedly asked her to manipulate finances to hide the incident’s loss in their half-yearly earnings report in February. However, she vowed she did not comply.

Thus, the beckoning glamour of the Star Casino belied a digital drama that unfolded behind its glittering facade, striking an unprecedented harmony between loot and law.