Meet Alex, the Russian Casino Hacker Who Makes Millions Targeting Slot Machines
A Russian mathematician- and programmer-turned-criminal has been unleashing his agents to exploit casinos in different parts of the globe. Although his eight-year-old St. Petersburg firm is flourishing, Alex has grown weary of handling payrolls, hiring crew, and managing the business.
Alex’s primary passion is to tinker with the code. He longs for days when all he could do for a living is that. However, his exit strategy has met a serious stumbling block: his business isn’t completely legal, so liquidating what he has is a problem.
Alex’s venture revolves around his skill in reverse engineering algorithms (also called PRNGs or pseudorandom number generators). These algorithms govern the behavior of slot machines.
Through his knowledge, Alex can predict when particular games are most likely to spit out money. He shares part of this information with his field agents.
Alex’s agents move from casino one to another in places like Peru, Macau, and Poland, looking for slots that he has deciphered. They use smartphones to record and send videos of the susceptible machines in action to their firm. The agents will then be signaled on when to press the “Spin” button and win great fortunes.
Alex doesn’t think his hacking violates Russian law. Instead, he feels he is a Robin Hood who fights for the common man against the greedy casino industry. He adds that his agents are no different from other gamers, except that they can make better predictions during betting.
As one of the strategies to exit his current business, Alex decided to contact an Australian slot machine maker, Aristocrat Leisure, to negotiate a possible deal. The company’s vulnerable products have been his principal targets.
Alex claimed that he wanted Aristocrat to pay him an eight-figure salary to help its product developers remove all flaws from the machines. In exchange, he would stop his agents from targeting Aristocrat slots. Moreover, Alex warned about the consequences of rejecting his proposal, including making the details of the issue available to Aristocrat’s competitors.
However, Aristocrat’s executive Tracey Elkerton felt that Alex was a cheat and turned down the proposal. Currently, the mathematician is considering approaching a different slot maker, IGT. Although he admits that this developer’s machines are more robust as compared to those of Aristocrat, he boastfully says that they are “generally weak.”
Alex claims that once he gets tired of the slot-machine racket, he will be ready to leave the industry mischievously and make his tech available for all to use.
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