News and Analysis
After the Attack: MGM and Caesars
Last week, MGM experienced a cyber attack that the hacking group Scattered Spider has now claimed responsibility for. The admission was made via an unverified post on the ALPHV ransomware collective darknet leak site.
The post claimed, “We still continue to have access to some of MGM’s infrastructure. If a deal is not reached, we shall carry out additional attacks. We continue to wait for MGM to grow a pair and reach out as they have clearly demonstrated that they know where to contact us.”
MGM shut down its servers on September 10th in response to the initial attack on their system. While MGM hasn’t confirmed how it was compromised, social media posts reported that thousands of hotel rooms were affected and slot machines were frozen.
As of yesterday (September 20th), MGM announced it was still trying to normalize operations again, with all properties open and employees on hand to assist.
“Our resort services, dining, entertainment, pools, and spas are operating normally and welcoming thousands of guests each day. Our gaming floors, including slots, table games, and poker rooms are open. Visitors to our properties may use Slot Dollars and FREEPLAY, and our slots are recording gaming spend. Our slot ticket-in/ticket-out systems are up and running.”
However, they are not offering cash advances or check cashing, and areas of the MGM infrastructure, like the hotel booking system, still need to be fixed.
Interestingly, MGM was not the only company targeted, as Reuters has reported Caesars Entertainment was also attacked. Caesars detailed the attack to regulators, saying its loyalty program data, including driver's licenses and/or social security numbers was compromised, was compromised.
While it hasn’t been confirmed by either Caesars or Scattered Spider, it’s being reported that Caesars paid the ransom, in contrast with MGM. Caesar’s have also taken further action:
“We have taken steps to ensure that the stolen data is deleted by the unauthorized 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. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, we are offering credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to all members of our loyalty program.”
Scattered Spider is one of the most active and disruptive hacking groups in the US, according to Google’s Mandiant Intelligence, linked to over 100 hacks in the last two years.
GeoComply: 242.3m Transactions Recorded in NFL Week One
We’re already two weeks into the NFL season, and data is rolling in from GeoComply regarding the betting stats from September 3rd to 10th. Detailing the data in a report named “From the Sideline to the Mainstream,” GeoComply recorded:
- 242.3 million geolocated transactions were registered across US-regulated sportsbooks in week one, a 56% increase from the same period in 2022.
- 1.1 million new player accounts were created - a 40% YoY increase.
- When the Lions scored the season's first touchdown, GeoComply recorded a massive increase in traffic, totaling 4,200 transactions per second immediately following the score. This is the highest rate of volume ever recorded in the first week of NFL games.
- 97% of bets were placed via a mobile phone, with 75% of those transactions placed on an iOS device.
GeoComply also released data on the number of GeoComply requests in six unregulated states currently considering sports betting bills (Alabama, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, and South Carolina).
The data show a significant demand for legal online betting options and led GeoComply to caution, “When a would-be bettor in one of these states is prevented from accessing a legal sportsbook, they often fall victim to unscrupulous online sportsbooks that aggressively advertise in these markets claiming to be legal and legitimate. GeoComply’s data is a clarion call to lawmakers in these states to take action in 2024. Legalization is the clearest path to put the state in the strongest position to protect consumers, establish accountability, and raise revenues.”
Revenue Reports for August from NJ and PA
The NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement has reported $531.6m, a 12.9% YoY increase in revenue from the state’s casinos, racetrack, and their partners for August 2023.
The total breaks down to $280.3m generated by physical casinos, $155.3m from NJ online casinos, and $96m from sports wagering. In terms of the most popular online casinos by revenue, Resorts led the way, followed by Golden Nugget and Borgata Casino in third place.
In Pennsylvania, the state saw overall growth, with total revenue hitting $457.2m, a 7.5% YoY growth for August but a 2.1% drop on July’s monthly figures. Additionally, sports revenue fell by 35.1% YoY. The most popular online casinos in Pennsylvania by revenue were Hollywood Casino in first place, then FanDuel, and in third place Barstool.
Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Poker Games Festival
In our last piece of news for the week, we’ve got an upcoming event to tell you about - The Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival VI. The festival is hosted at Resorts World Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from November 26th to 30th, 2023. It includes two tournaments (a $260 Omaha 8/Stud 8 tournament on Monday, November 27th, and a $260 H.O.R.S.E. tournament on Thursday, November 30th, as the grand finale) and nonstop dealer’s choice cash games and other scheduled events.
If you’re a Poker fan, save the date, as this is the place to be. We had a chat with the event’s organizer and the founder of Cardplayer Lifestyle, Robbie Strazynski, who said:
"One of Cardplayer Lifestyle's most important missions is to help grow the game of poker beyond Texas Hold'em. Our sixth Mixed Game Festival is the perfect place to learn lots of other poker variants and have a blast playing for low stakes.
Plus, we've got a HUGE grand prize on offer in the form of a WPT Voyage Prize Package, some great special events on the schedule, and tons more swag that we'll be giving out to our players. Resorts World Las Vegas is rolling out the red carpet for us to bring the world's largest home game to the world's best place to play mixed game poker."
Slot Game of the Week
Fire and Roses Joker, DGC, RTP Ranges: 86.70% to 96.01%
Our slot game of the week is one of the most spun slots in the USA for August 2023 - Fire and Roses Joker. It’s a retro-inspired title first released in March and has been rising in the slot charts since.
Set on 3-4-5-4-3 reels, it comes with 720 ways to win and exudes classic slot vibes. But this doesn't mean you should expect less action; it’s packed with modern features, including pay both-ways reels, stacked wilds, a free spins bonus round, and 5 jackpots!
As soon as you open the game, you’ll see the Joker on the left of the reels; this is Jolene, who hosts the game and is also the wild. She can move from the left of the reels to the center 3 to create more wins. Aside from Jolene, you’ll also see classic 7s, Cherries, Dice, Card, Clubs, Hearts, Spade, and Diamond symbols on the reels, all of which pay from 3-5 symbol matches.
To trigger the free spins bonus round, you must lock in a scatter symbol on each reel, which grants 6 spins. Before the round starts, each original scatter reveals an extra free spin or increases the round multiplier by x1 (the round maxes out at 10 spins and a 15x multiplier).
Need more action? Then, let’s cover the jackpots. Each golden rose symbol you score during gameplay adds to the jackpot totals by 0.5x and could trigger a spin of the jackpot wheel, where a jackpot payout is guaranteed (the jackpots correspond with the bet level, the biggest is seeded at 50,000 with a max cap of 250,000, which is 5,000x the bet).
If you’re ready to channel some classic slot vibes in a modern spinner, Fire and Roses Joker is the slot to play! Bets start from $0.20 up to $50 a round, and you can check it out at these DGC Online Casinos.