Australia’s Star Casino Error Gave Out $2.06M in Winnings, Now It’s Chasing the Money Back

A glitch in the cash-out system at Star Casino in Sydney, Australia, gave out 3.2 million AUD (US2.06 million) over two weeks. 

Casino management didn’t notice until more than a month later. When they found out, they enlisted local law enforcement to help them get their money back. That involved dozens of arrests and several criminal convictions. 

Details of the case came to light recently, as a New South Wales Casino Commission enquiry into Star Casino’s suitability for a license is being carried out. 

The Incident 

In July 2023, a glitch was unknowingly introduced during an update to the casino’s cash-in, cash-out system. Customers could insert one or more winning tickets and they would all be cashed. However, only one would be kept by the machine. This allowed multiple winning tickets to be cashed over and over again.

Word of the glitch soon spread among the city’s gamblers. Some 43 people went on to take $2.06 million in fraudulent repeat winnings from the casino over a 10-day period. 

Around a dozen of those players have now been arrested, with police on the lookout for many of the rest. 

One of those players was Sydney resident Thanh Lan Le. The recovering problem gambler received a message from her friend informing her of the money glitch. It tempted her to head to the casino, where she gambled enough to get one winning ticket and then took advantage of the glitch. 

Over the 10-day period, Le withdrew $57,265 at the casino. However, as reported in The Daily Mail, she proceeded to gamble away all but $5,000 of the illicitly gained cash. 

Le filed a guilty plea in court earlier this year, and offered to pay back the remaining $5,000 she took home. 

“I understand it was my fault,” she said. “I had deceivingly taken it. But the machine was giving us money.”

Negligent Breaches

As well as not noticing an extra $2 million had been fraudulently won on the casino floor for several months, Star Casino faces a list of other accusations from regulators. 

The operator is accused of negligently allowing money laundering and other criminal activities in its casino throughout 2022.

‘They were giving away $3 million and didn’t even notice – a system so evidently lax that it is a honeypot for money launderers,” said Natalija Nikolic, a lawyer representing one of the arrested gamblers.

“In our view, the worst offense in this whole scenario could be laid at the feet of Star for these negligent breaches.”

During the hearing, it was revealed that the winning ticket glitch was actually present for six weeks in 2023 before gamblers discovered it and took advantage.

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