SINGAPORE - A syndicate member who used sophisticated technology to cheat at play at the casinos here was packed off to jail for 22 months on Tuesday (June 28).
This is the first case in which smartphones were used to record gaming machines at the casinos and later used to predict the next mass pay-out of the machines.
Czech national Radoslav Skubnik, 40, admitted to three charges under the Casino Control Act of cheating at play when he obtained an advantage for himself while playing the slot machines at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) and Marina Bay Sands casinos last month.
The cases against his two alleged accomplices, Russians Vladislav Logachev, 40, and Andrei Egorov, 33, are pending.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jordon Li said that sometime in 2012, Skubnik joined a Russian syndicate operating in casinos in the United States, Europe and Macau targeting slot machines from certain manufacturers.
Syndicate members would form into teams consisting of Master (team leader) and Players.
After using the devices to record the play patterns of the slot machines, the Master will upload the information to an unknown server for analysis and decoding.
The decoded data is then sent back to the Master, who will in turn distribute it to the Players.
Armed with the decoded data, the Players will return to the same slot machines with the devices. The devices will alert the Player the next mass pay-out, thus granting the Player an advantage in the game.
Skubnik was taught how to use the devices in Russia before he was sent to perform jobs in casinos in Europe and Macau.
At the end of each job, each Player receives 10 per cent of the winnings while the Master receives 5 per cent from each Player. The remainder is given to the syndicate.
Sometime in April this year, Skubnik had completed a similar job at casinos in Macau and was back in Prague when he received a call from Logachev to go to Singapore with the devices and use them in the casinos here. The trio arrived in Singapore on May 5.
That day, Logachev sent a decoded data in relation to the compromised machines at RWS to the devices held by Skubnik.
Skubnik proceeded to the casino at about 7pm. Using the information provided, he located the compromised machines and fraudulently used the devices to gain an advantage while playing on five compromised machines. He won $6,402.
Between May 6 and 7, he similarly used the devices while playing on two of the compromised machines and won $13,352.
On May 7, he lost $783 while playing on six compromised machines at MBS casino as the devices were unable to accurately predict the pay-outs, the court heard.
Police have recovered winnings totalling about $120,000.
Seeking a sentence of 24 months to 30 months to be imposed, DPP Li cited several aggravating factors such as the trans-national type of offences, difficulty in detection, and the highly sophisticated method of offending.
He said Skubnik came to Singapore for the sole purpose of committing offences.
Skubnik, who had three other charges taken into consideration, could have been fined up to $150,000 and/or jailed for up to seven years on each charge under the Casino Control Act.