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New York Regulators Confirm Cyber Attack Behind Gaming Interruption

Written By Derek Helling | Updated:
hooded person on computer

Some New York slot parlors experienced service interruptions because of a cyber attack that wasn’t. That’s the latest explanation from gambling regulators in the state as licensees have moved on from the incident.

Before the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) made its announcement on the matter, one of the companies that operates a slot parlor in the state made a declaration to the contrary. Much remains unknown about the security compromise.

Jake’s 58 put out a contradicting statement on the incident

While the incident remains under investigation, Suffolk Downs OTB CEO Phil Boyle may have spoken too soon. According to David Danzis of PlayNY, Boyle assured customers of Jake’s 58 Casino Hotel that system issues leading to a three-day closure of the property were not the results of a cyber attack.

On the same day, News12 Westchester reported that the NYSGC described the incident as a cybersecurity event. Adam Kovac of The Messenger further reported that the NYSGC confirmed the incident was a cyber attack and is currently under investigation.

Since initially denying the incident’s nature, Boyle has modified his approach. According to Chav Vasilev of Bonus.com, Boyle “said the company is taking the hack very seriously” and “added that the company will make up time lost to” customers.

Perhaps more importantly, Jake’s 58 stresses that customer data was not compromised in the event. Jake’s 58 was not the only property affected in New York. The unique nature of slot play in the state played a big role in the scope of the incident.

New York’s VLT system played a part in scale of the attack

In New York, the gaming terminals that appear to be slot machines are video lottery terminals (VLTs). Thus, with each bet, players are essentially buying a virtual lottery ticket for an instant-win game.

All of those terminals are connected to a central system that the NYSGC contracts out the operation of to Everi Holdings, Inc. That is the reason why multiple properties, including Resorts World Hudson Valley, experienced simultaneous issues.

Hackers seem to have focused on this part of Everi’s massive global operations. It’s currently unclear why.

Also uncertain is who was behind the incident and what data they may have obtained. Furthermore, Everi has been quiet about whether it faced a ransom demand to restore its operations or if any other systems were affected.

Everi faces a legal requirement to report any ransom paid as a result of a cybersecurity incident as a publicly traded company in the United States. More information about this incident should be coming soon.

A cyber attack at Caesars that happened in late August prompted a mid-September notice from Caesars. MGM shared details about a similar incident in early October. Everi could very well be focusing on its investigation currently so it can give shareholders as much accurate information as possible.

For gamblers, as well as the general public, the best thing to do is monitor financial accounts closely. Cybersecurity threats are constant and pervasive across the globe. Everi and the NYSGC were reminded of that last week.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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