How The Glitch Stole Christmas

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: A gambler inserts their money, pulls the lever and wins an enormous sum of money – only to be told by the casino that their win was due to a “software error.”

Well it happened again, this time to Behar Merlaku, who played the winning machine at a casino in Bregenz, Austria to the tune of £37million. But rather than collect his riches, Behar was offered a free meal and £60 instead. Depending on the meal, this sounds like a bad deal for poor Behar.

Casinos are in the unique position of knowing exactly how much each bug costs them. Heck, the figure is literally in flashing neon lights! For other industries, this is more difficult to figure out. explains:

At first, the cost of fixing a bug at the requirements stage is nominal, when everything is on the drawing board. But as the software moves along in its life cycle the cost of fixing a bug increases radically. We start at 1 times when we are at the initial development stage when a bug is no more than a change in notion. But at the design stage, the relative cost is 5 times what it was compared to the requirements stage, and then ten times what it was when it becomes code and on this goes until it the relative cost of a bug fix is 150 times what it was originally. Conversely, the graphic indicates that the cost of rewriting is far less than attempting to maintain broken software. Starting right, or starting over right, is by far preferable to the alternative.

The lesson here: Test early, test often and always put your money on black!

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