In a major cybersecurity incident, New York State’s Central Lottery System faced a temporary disruption, causing several casinos operating video lottery terminals (VLTs) to suspend their operations. Notably, these VLTs, which resemble Las Vegas-style slot machines, operate on the lottery central system based out of Schenectady.

The Long Island-based Jake’s 58 Casino Hotel, known for its VLT operations, had temporarily closed due to the incident. Though the hotel resumed operations post the cybersecurity event, it was clarified that the issue did not transpire at the casino but was levied against Everi, the vendor entrusted to manage the State’s Gaming Commission’s video lottery gaming system.

VLTs, despite their audacious display, are interconnected and utilize lottery simulations to determine whether a player wins. The payouts, dependent on the network’s overall operations through the nine VLT properties, follow a predetermined rate.

Everi, managing the VLT system for the New York Gaming Commission, reportedly encountered a cybersecurity issue, instigating the network glitch last week. Brad Maione, the New York Gaming Commission spokesperson, confirmed on October 17, 2023, that the cybersecurity event involving Everi is under investigation.

This crisis had a significant impact on Jake’s 58, resulting in a temporary halt of its gaming floor and over 1,000 VLT machines on the morning of October 17. The casino managed to recommence gaming dynamics only on the next day. Suffolk Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation (Suffolk OTB), the owner and operator of Jake’s 58, is focusing on a $200 million expansion that would enhance the gaming positions from 1,000 to 2,000 seats and includes other amenities like restaurants, bars, parking garage, and sound barrier.

While the State hasn’t disclosed specific details about the cybersecurity event or possible involvement of a criminal hacking group, they have assured that no customer information was compromised in the incident. Further, the state declined to comment on potential ransom demands.

In light of recent cyberattacks on MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, the gaming industry remains vigilant. Global hacking group Scattered Spider took responsibility for the prior attacks, wherein they claimed to have seized six terabytes worth of data, equivalent to 39 million document pages.

Meanwhile, inquiries are ongoing, leaving Everi in a position where they are required to disclose any ransom payments, as per the regulations for US publicly traded companies. As growing concerns over personal information persist, many VLT casino players are seeking clarification about the integrity of their personal data.

Hud Wafiq Ganem is a gambling industry pioneer. He is the founder of and his yearly gambling industry predictions and analysis are respected and adhered to by veterans and novices alike.
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