The reels are always spinning in the gambling industry, and “The Double Down” is here every Friday to catch you up on all of the week’s biggest news. Sports Handle’s “Get a Grip” rounds up everything on the sports betting side, and US Bets provides the best of the rest: brick-and-mortar happenings, online casino developments, poker headlines, horse wagering, and more. So pull up a chair, crunch the numbers, and slide forward another stack of chips.
At the end of a casino industry news week dominated by details of the cyberattack against MGM properties, it turns out it’s not just MGM that was targeted. Instead, MGM and Caesars are to an extent doing the Spider-Man-pointing-at-Spider-Man meme.
Or perhaps in this case, we should call it “Scattered Spider-Man pointing at Scattered Spider-Man.”
The hacker group reportedly behind the attack is called Scattered Spider, which, according to a threat analyst quoted by the Associated Press, is a sub-group of ALPHV (also known as BlackCat), the Russian operation that originally claimed responsibility for the attack.
As revealed in an SEC filing Thursday, the hackers breached Caesars Entertainment the week prior to getting into MGM’s computer system and causing massive outages across its 17 U.S. properties. Caesars said in the filing that it had “taken steps to ensure that the stolen data is deleted by the unauthorized actor, although we cannot guarantee this result.” Though Caesars would not offer further clarification, cybersecurity experts took this to mean the company paid a ransom, sparing itself from the sort of impact MGM properties suffered.
Scattered Spider told Reuters on Thursday that it took six terabytes of data from the two companies. That data reportedly included personal information of customers, which caught the attention of recent Sports Betting Hall of Fame inductee Roxy Roxborough:
As for the financial fallout of these data breaches, credit rating agency Moody’s indicated that for MGM in particular, the attack could negatively impact its rating, as the breach exposed “key risks” within the company.
Jefferies Equities Research Managing Director David Katz wrote in a note to investors that he believes the cyberattacks “should be taken as … largely insurable events that should not have long-lasting impacts on the businesses, assuming that the event is short-lived.”
Katz continued: “Our sense is that MGM’s impact could potentially be material, but moderate near term, while Caesars should see no meaningful impact.”
Every Thursday, US Bets drops a new episode of the Gamble On podcast, and this week’s welcomed Fanatics Betting & Gaming Chief Business Officer Ari Borod to dig into some of the plans and strategies on tap as the merchandise giant expands in the mobile gambling space:
Delaware lawmakers took a key step last month in helping those with gambling disorders to get help.
The General Assembly in August updated Section 13(b) of the state’s Behavioral Health Crisis Intervention Services to read, “Mental health conditions include gambling disorders.” The addition is significant because the legal definition should now open up access to treatment services covered by the state and, possibly, insurance companies for those with gambling problems.
In 2021, the American Psychiatric Association reclassified gambling disorders as addictions, which allows medical professionals more treatment tools, including allowing the drug naltrexone to be prescribed. Naltrexone is used to treat drug and alcohol addiction and has an effect on the “reward” section of the brain, which professionals say is activated in gambling much like it is with alcohol or drug addiction.
— Jill R. Dorson
Bally’s, which is partnered with the state of Rhode Island to run two retail casinos in addition to digital sports betting and iCasino platforms, announced a $5 million donation to the Community College of Rhode Island Foundation to fund a curriculum for those interested in studying the gaming industry.
Scheduled to be available beginning in fall 2024, the program will be the first in Rhode Island through which students can earn a certificate or associate degree in a gambling-related field.
The curriculum will include chances to work at a Bally’s property, and classes in casino, hospitality, and hotel management-specific courses — from dealer training to culinary arts — will be available. Bally’s employees wishing to further their gaming knowledge will also be able to tap into the foundation for aid.
— Jill R. Dorson
PENN STATE FATE: PA Supreme Court will have the final say on proposed mini-casino near State College [Centre Daily Times]
WHERE THERE’S SMOKE: Problem gambling: comorbidity and smoking [GGB News]
CHOC FULL OF GAMES: Choctaw Casinos & Resorts introduce new table games [Indian Gaming]
WANNA PARK? GOTTA PAY: 2 more Strip resorts to reinstate parking fees [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
BUH-BYE, DUBAI: Caesars ending its operations in Dubai [The Nevada Independent]
TRAGEDY, CONSEQUENCES: State fines construction company for worker’s death on Spokane Tribe Casino project [KXLY.com]
BUFFALO MILLS: Aristocrat’s Buffalo Diamond Extreme hit for $2 million at Venetian [CDC Gaming Reports]
Image: Blundell Design