How would you react if your thousand-dollar prize was taken away from you by a “software bug”?
“To err is human,” they say. But machines aren’t perfect either. After all, they are made by humans. Whether we’re talking about traditional land-based casinos or online gambling sites, it only takes one tiny glitch in the system to mess everything up.
Nothing can be more frustrating for a passionate gambler than to finally win the prize of his lifetime and have someone walk up to him and say: “We’re sorry! There was a glitch in the software; you are not getting the money. But here’s a stake, to compensate.” And this has happened at a lot of casinos, where “defective” slot machines awarded some lucky players millions of dollars in cash.
Something like that can drive a person mad. But it can happen. And online or mobile casinos are no exception. Here are three of the most exasperating, frustrating and unbelievable software glitches in the entire history of online casinos.
EUR 700,000 tech glitch
In 2009, the media was reporting the story of 41 year-old Bruno Venturi, who might just be the biggest “loser” in the history of online gambling. The man placed a EUR 20 bet, turned it into more than EUR 700,000 by playing the “Sixty Seconds” game on the Eurobet website and… ended up getting nothing.
The online operator claimed that the customer’s lucky streak had been caused by a software bug on the website and refused to pay out. And it gets worse: a High Court judge sided with the company and ruled that a computer virus was covered under the website’s terms and conditions.
According to representatives of the Gala Coral Group – the behind the online wagering site – the bug caused the betting software to only charge the player once for every six multiple bets he placed.
A clause included in the website’s Terms and Conditions stated that any “incorrectly credited” amount of money will be withdrawn on recovered.
Scammed by software
In 2011, several online casinos were found using software that cheated thousands of craps players. The sneaky software was developed by BLR Technologies, a company based in Costa Rica, and it was said to be designed to detect a player’s bet and increases the chances of a losing roll.
The scam was discovered by industry specialists, who later published their own studies on how the system works. Scared of the consequences, a few online operators decided to stop using the software and switched to new platforms, while others stuck to their own versions of the story and claimed their games were 100% fair and safe to play.
The web services had previously been given good ratings for their services, but the controversy around the faulty software chased players away. A few professional gamblers even performed test runs to see how the games run and found several problems, which they later reported on forums.
Two of them managed to prove that they were being cheated, and they were lucky enough to get a refund from the owners of the online casino.
Extra cash by accident
The last software glitch we’re going to mention actually happened quite recently. April started off on the wrong foot for PokerStars. Gamblers who wanted to play online poker in the UK and other countries across Europe had a big laugh during the first Sunday Tournament, as “technical problems” caused a $260,000 overlay.
How did this happen? An error prevented late-comers from registering for the tournament, and the company ended up with only 1,204 players, instead of the 2,500 they need to meet the $500,000 guarantee.
Participants paid the $200+$15 entry fee and got around double the value for the buy-in. The first prize was as high as $85,000, so it was a lucky day for poker players. Meanwhile, the company ended up losing a lot of money, but accepted the loss and paid everyone.
PokerStars released a statement via social media, to apologize to users who could not join the game at a later time: “As a result players who wished to late reg will not be able to play. There is a substantial overlay in the event for those playing. We apologize for the inconvenience for those who wanted to play but couldn’t.”
Oh well… it turned out to be a very lucky run for the ones who did get to play, anyway.