Every week, CasinoBeats breaks down the numbers behind some of the industry’s most fascinating stories. Our latest headline reflection features illegal gambling concerns in the US and Philippines, concerns expressed in Ireland, a cybersecurity issue at major US casino operators and potential online gambling credit card ban in Australia.
Caesars Entertainment acknowledged the recent detection of “suspicious activity in its information technology network”, as MGM Resorts continued to probe the effects of its own “cybersecurity issue” that was identified earlier in the week.
This came amid reports that the former paid approximately half of a $30m ransom demand, with Reuters reporting that the Scattered Spider hacking group has confirmed that it obtained six terabytes of data from the pair.
In an SEC 8K filing, Caesars updated that it was affected by a social engineering attack on an outsourced IT support vendor, however, it noted that customer-facing operations, including physical properties and online and mobile gaming applications, were not impacted.
“We have taken steps to ensure that the stolen data is deleted by the unauthorised actor, although we cannot guarantee this result. We are monitoring the web and have not seen any evidence that the data has been further shared, published, or otherwise misused,” the company said.
The Australian government introduced legislation to implement an online gambling credit card ban, in addition to heightening fines for companies that fail to implement the updated rulings.
The Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023, to be introduced to parliament onWednesday 13 September, looks to outlaw credit cards and credit related products, as well as digital currencies, used for online wagering.
The proposal would see expanded powers be gained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority to ensure “strong and effective enforcement”. Penalties of up to $234,750 for any breach of the new provisions could also be sanctioned
A six month transition period would be provided to the industry and consumer, which would commence from the date of Royal Assent. The use of credit cards in land-based venues is already prohibited in the country.
The Swedish gambling authority will once again receive an increase in funding, this time across the next three years, to strengthen work in combating illegal gambling and match fixing activities.
After gaining an additional SEK 2.4m (€200,000) for the current year, the country’s government has proposed a SEK 10.8m (£777,385) increase in the authority’s budget for 2024.
In addition to this, it is also estimated that the Spelinspektionen will also receive an extra SEK 15.6m (£1.12m) through 2025, and SEK 18.6m (£1.33m) to combat these activities during 2026.
A fresh report highlighted the need for additional gambling regulations with a view to further protecting children and vulnerable members of society, suggested Ireland’s Institute of Public Health.
It was also said that ‘children and gambling – evidence to inform regulation and responses in Ireland’ underscored the need for further data on children and gambling to be collected, in addition to monitoring via national health surveys to be undertaken.
It was found that 22.9 per cent of respondents reported gambling for money in the 12 months prior, with this rate higher among boys (28.2 per cent) compared to girls (17.9 per cent).
Sports betting was found to be the most common activity with 60.7 per cent of respondents indicating participation, this is followed by lotteries (51.8 per cent), cards or dice (41.3 per cent) and slots (36.9 per cent).
PAGCOR cautioned the public not to be misled by an increasing number of websites using the regulator’s logo in a bid to deceive players into thinking that their activities are connected with licensed offshore gaming in the Philippines.
This followd the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation pursuing legal action against 33 offshore gaming licensees due to unpaid fees, with it noted that those in question have unpaid licence fees that amount to P2.02bn (£27.86m).
It was warned that “fake online gaming sites” are using an old PAGCOR logo, with the public advised to exercise caution due to the threat that could be posed to both personal and financial information.
Steps currently being taken include handing over the results of investigation and monitoring of dubious websites to the Philippine National Police, as well as the Department of Information and Communication Technology and the National Bureau of Investigation, for legal action.
Licensees of the Dutch gaming market were warned that they must intervene with additional urgency and efficiency when players exhibit behavioural traits that could indicate excessive gaming or a potential addiction.
Following what was billed as an “extensive investigation” into the fulfilment of the duty of care at 10 providers, the country’s gambling authority, Kansspelautoriteit, has also informed that it is working towards tightening its own policy based on conclusions and findings.
This will see responsible gambling protocols be amended to include mandatory real-time monitoring and blocking of accounts that display concerning signs until an intervention has taken place.
In addition, supplementing rules on indicators that should be included in the assessment of gaming behaviour will also be included.
Tabcorp was refunded a total of A$83m by the Australian Taxation Office after the operator disclosed that a resolution had been reached regarding an ongoing dispute.
This related to the income tax treatment of payments for various licences and authorities, which Tabcorp had confidently declared had been paid to the Commissioner in full. Each proceeding brought by the taxpayers will be dismissed.
As part of the settlement, the ATO will return the aforementioned sum, which is said to represent 20 per cent of the disputed tax liabilities and interest.
However, the company will pay approximately $37m to The Lottery Corporation under the terms of a separation deed dated March 25, 2022.
Toronto’s Woodbine Casino was served with a C$80,000 financial penalty by the Registrar of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario following allegations of a cheat-at-play and dealer collusion scheme.
Earlier in the year, the Ontario Provincial Police Investigation and Enforcement Bureau, embedded within the AGCO, brought charges against five individuals over claims that an electronic craps dealer was in collusion with these patrons.
Subsequently, a compliance review was conducted by the AGCO’s regulatory arm regarding adherence to the Gaming Control Act 1992, which found that the gaming venue had failed to detect or take appropriate action regarding the scheme
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel disclosed that she had shut down the illegal operations of Massachusetts based Golden Hearts Games from within the state.
Through her office’s Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division, and working alongside the Michigan Gaming Control Board, this brought an end to a more than two-year pursuit.
Golden Hearts Games, a charity-focused social or sweepstakes casino, was said to have been offering online games to Michigan consumers without the required licence.
The move brought praise from the American Gaming Association, which noted “kudos to the Michigan Department of Attorney General and MGCB on teaming up to combat illegal gambling in their communities.”