Nevada Gaming Regulator warns of cyber-attack threats

July 8, 2021

Warning comes after attacks on Oklahoma casinos in June.

On Wednesday the Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board highlighted the importance of security against cyber-attacks after over 1,000 American companies fell victim to ransomware in the last month.

The issue was raised during the board's monthly meeting and while no Nevada casinos were targeted, last year saw the slot machines at the Four Queens and Binions in Las Vegas shut down for days due to a cyber-attack.

Speaking on the need to be vigilant, Commission Chairman J. Brin Gibson said: “We have been talking about cyber security with applicants and licensees on a regular basis, and ransomware is a big deal.With these cash-heavy businesses, it’s going to be a big deal going forward and a major challenge.”

John Robert Bollen, Chief Information Officer for The Cosmopolitan spoke of how companies must focus on cyber security as much as they focus on food, lodging and gaming systems.

Bollen said: “One thing that keeps me up at night is cyber security. There are a lot of open barn doors that we have to close to keep the company safe from cyber attacks and malware.”

He continued: “A lot of times, those in operations don’t quite understand why we’re patching or scanning or doing things at four in the morning to reboot after they’ve been patched. They look at it as an inconvenience, but it’s something we needed to do to maintain the integrity of the operation.”

Cyber security has long threatened gaming operators throughout the United States. In 2015 and 2016, Hard Rock saw data breaches for its casinos credit-card system. Similar issues occurred for Affinity Gaming in 2013 when 12 of its casinos across four states saw their customers credit card details attacked.

Willy Allison, Founder of the World Game Protection Conference added: ““People view it like an asteroid attack, with the chances of them being hit by one being pretty low, when actually it’s not an asteroid attack, but happening every day.”


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