Criminal Sentenced For Hacking An Online Casino

At the beginning of 2011, 29-year-old Briton, Ashley Mitchell, hacked into Zynga and embezzled $12 million worth of online chips. Mitchell was recently sentenced by the Exeter Crown Court, facing four charges of converting criminal property and violating the Computer Misuse Act. The court gave him two years imprisonment for these offenses.

Another Hacking Incident

Mitchell has a history of criminal hacking activity. In 2008, Mitchell hacked into a local government network which resulted in a 40 week suspended sentence. As a result, Mitchell had broken the terms of this sentence and issued additional 30-week imprisonment.

The Zynga Network

Mitchell hacked into the Zynga network and stole 400 billion digital poker chips which equate to $12 million. These chips cannot be converted to cash. Therefore, the only way Mitchell could have made money from these chips is to sell them to other Zynga players. He attempted to do exactly this and received $86,000 total for a portion of these chips when he was caught. At his current rates, he would have profited $300,000 if never caught.

The Precision Of Hacking

The prevailing judge on the case was Philip Wassal who recognized the expertise and precision used to hack into their computer system. Judge Wassal further stated the time Mitchell had spent researching the system must have been considerable. Since people and businesses rely heavily on computer systems, the Judge issued Mitchell a stiffer sentence.

Virtual Money

During the trial, Prosecutor Gareth Evans indicated that the currency Mitchell stole exists only online and is available exclusively through Zynga. Therefore, the theft did not affect the company’s revenue unlike most other instances of stealing. Additionally, Zynga has the opportunity to recreate the digital chips stolen by Mitchell. On the other hand, the theft may have resulted in a loss of clients due to the potential for hackers at the website.

Gambling Addiction

In the end, Mitchell pleaded guilty and was found to be struggling with a gambling addiction. His lawyer recognized that Mitchell was spending at least 1,000 Pounds per day at online poker rooms and casinos.

Hopefully, the prosecution of Ashley Mitchell makes an impact on the online gambling industry forcing them to double-check all security systems to ensure this does not occur with real money chips. Although most online casinos are certified secure, robust, and reliable entities, it is still important to routinely verify no holes exist in the software.


Understanding Blackjack Card Values

If you’ve decided to take up the thrilling game of online blackjack then it’s vital to understand the values of the cards you’re playing with. Not all games use the same card values, and blackjack differs from both poker and baccarat in this area. It is crucial to know the correct card values in your game, especially in blackjack where you could find yourself folding too early, or going bust and not realizing it, all because of your lack of knowledge.

Differing Values

As mentioned above, the values for certain cards in blackjack differ from other popular online gambling games. For the cards between two and nine, face values are correct, allowing you to play without uncertainty. All three cards of the Jack, Queen, and King are valued at ten, and it is vital to remember that The Ace can have two values; that one or 11 depending on how you want to use it. Your Ace card is of significance during any game and can easily cause you to go bust or fold early if you forget that it has two values.

Strategizing With Blackjack Values

When playing blackjack, whether, in an online casino environment or the real world, it’s very important to have at least a simple strategy in place to maximize your chances of winning. The cards in your hand will be the decider of how you play, and it’s, therefore, advisable to have a few obvious choices to play. Combinations such as a seven and a picture card total 17; a point at which you should probably fold unless you want to take the high risk of going bust. However, if you have a total of 11 with only two cards it is advisable to take another hit. Due to the pack having an increased number of tens over other card values, it is important to not risk the game. By having 17, you’d easily bust with a picture card. But, with 11, you’re chances of getting 21 are increased.

All Important Ace

The Ace card is an important factor in blackjack because you can switch its value to your advantage. Don’t forget to do this when it appears in your hard as it could make the difference to winning or losing. And by having a good understanding of blackjack cards you can pull the odds in your favor.


A Closer Look At the Problem Gambling Study

Harvard University recently released a new study on problem gambling. Championing the report was Howard J. Shaffer and Ryan Martin, two well-known experts on the subject. The study is entitled, “Disordered Gambling: Etiology, Trajectory, and Clinical Considerations” and was featured in the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. The conclusions indicated that problem gambling has dropped and that online gambling does not breed problem gambling.

There has been tremendous growth in land-based gambling over the past 35 years. However, problem gambling has decreased from 0.7% to 0.6%. Therefore, this proves that for the majority of Americans, this is an enjoyable but controllable activity. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Shaffer detailed the negative implications propagated by anti-online gambling politicians, support groups, and organizations.

He said that players gambling online have gone from more to less in a matter of weeks. This is an attribute that could have never been predicted. Therefore, the extent of online gambling has proven to be moderate at best.

Shaffer went on to reveal that only 1 percent of the overall global gambling population had participated in online gaming. Furthermore, there was no evidence to support that exposure to online gambling increases the risk of a player becoming addicted. Also, 75 percent of the 0.6 percent problem gamblers have other issues beyond gambling that contribute to their online addiction. The crucial aspect is that the other addictions came prior to the gambling addiction.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • 75 percent had drinking issues
  • 38 percent had drug disorders
  • 60 percent had a dependence on smoking

This recent research adds to the widespread knowledge at Harvard on the subject of problem gambling. The researchers have a two-fold goal of accumulating additional knowledge about problem gambling: enabling improved diagnostic regimes and reaching a balanced view on problem gambling.

Shaffer and Martin’s work is not isolated as they have built on the results of other researchers in the problem gambling field. There are actually several researchers that have been sponsored by major online gambling organizations. Also, there are studies assigned by regulatory bodies such as the U.K. Gambling Commission which have found similar results.

In summary, although problem gambling is a disability that could result in tragic concerns, it is not a major threat to the majority of players. This and many other studies validate the claim that online gambling is not a problem for most online players.