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Young hacker gets 20-month suspended sentence after €600k gambling fraud

The man now faces a 20-month suspended sentence for defrauding state gaming firm Veikkaus.

Veikkauksen logo on V-kirjaimen muotoinen.
File photo of Veikkaus logo on door. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
Yle News

A man in his early twenties who exploited a vulnerability in an online game operated by the state-owned gambling monopoly Veikkaus managed to win hundreds of thousands of euros but was only able to keep his winnings for a short while.

On Monday he was sentenced to a one-year and eight-month sentence for aggravated fraud by Pirkanmaa District Court. Meanwhile, his female accomplice received a six-month suspended sentence for an aggravated money laundering charge.

The scheme began on Valentines Day of last year, when the male defendant transferred 10 euros into his Veikkaus online gaming account, and began playing a game called Lootuskeno.

He managed to manipulate the game into vastly increasing the amount of returns the game paid out.

While the game's return rate was typically around 95 percent, the manipulation resulted in a return rate of more than 500 percent.

Then, over the course of three months, the man played Lootuskeno for a total of nearly 16,000 rounds, most of which were manipulated.

Using the manipulation, the man managed to rack up more than 602,000 euros. According to Finnish news outlet MTV, the man transferred more than 540,000 euros of the winnings to his bank account.

Both of the defendants admitted to the crimes and aided the investigation, according to MTV, which was first to report the verdict.

Veikkaus: Vulnerability fixed

Gambling monopoly Veikkaus began investigating the matter as soon as it became aware of the manipulation, according to company spokesperson Oskari Keskitalo.

"The security vulnerability has been fixed and the game can be safely played by customers. The game could not be played during the investigation," Keskitalo said, adding that such incidents were rare.

The company noted that the vulnerability found in Lootuskeno did not affect its other online gambing games, adding that customer privacy was not compromised.

"We invest very thoroughly in data security. Nevertheless, a [security] gap was created and exploited by an individual in a criminal manner," Keskitalo said.

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