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Impacts of a Breached Online Casino

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The environment that online casinos operate in is constantly changing. For the most part, none of these changes is visible to the punters who frequent them. However, they have crucial impacts on the way gamblers can experience the convenience and thrill of gambling online and actively work to prevent gambling fraud.

The majority of these behind-the-scenes changes concern security. With the safety of operations being of the utmost importance, online casinos have to employ various security protocols to ensure their players are kept safe by constantly updating procedures to block new attack methods.

Occasionally, those seeking to disrupt operations manage to get through and breach an online casino’s systems. When this happens, the effects are staggering for both the casino’s clients and the operation itself. Below, we’ve expanded on these effects and outlined the impacts a security breach can have.   

Operator Impact

While many believe online casinos can suffer an attack and continue like usual due to excessive cash reserves, this isn’t the case. Even the most straightforward attack can devastate an operator and cause a ripple effect from which the casino may not recover.

Financial Impact

The first and most apparent impact an attack has is the financial impact. Whether it be money stolen from player accounts that may need to be refunded or the online casino being taken offline and the site being unable to generate income, the financial effects can be staggering. 

Proof of this is as recent as late 2023 when MGM International was hacked. The attack forced all their systems in resorts internationally offline, and the group is estimated to have lost almost $100 million. At the same time, Caesars Entertainment lost $30 million in ransom fees they paid to hackers to regain control of their systems.

While groups as large as the two mentioned above can weather this financial blow, many online casinos lack the capital to endure such losses. When they find themselves on the bad end of such a devastating attack, they may be forced to cease operations.

Reputational Impact

Aside from the financial loss, one of the biggest effects a security breach has on an online casino is damage to its reputation. With security at the forefront of every player’s mind, knowing a casino is not as secure as it should be could force players to look for their gambling thrills elsewhere. 

Should a site be known to be vulnerable to cyber attacks, it could lead to an exodus of players, which results in further financial loss for the operator. While the operator might try to retain players by offering reassurance and bonuses, such as the option to claim 25 free spins on registration with no deposit, it may not be enough to repair the damage done. 

In such instances, casinos will find themselves in the tricky situation of spending significant money on ramping up security and possibly launching marketing campaigns to attract customers. As with financial losses, the effort to regain trust may be for nought, and the casino may close regardless.

Legal Impact

In a world where digital information is valuable, knocking a casino’s systems offline or stealing players’ money may not be the only interest of hackers. The players’ personal information is also a massive target. 

This information could include names, identity numbers, addresses, and payment details such as credit card numbers or linked wallet credentials. These credentials could then be used to steal money from clients without accessing a casino’s financial servers.

Having this information taken from its servers could open online casinos to lawsuits from disgruntled customers who have had their information stolen. In instances where customers have been victims of financial losses due to a data leak, these suits could involve massive settlements in court.   

Customer Impact

Although not nearly as severe as the impact an online casino operator feels, breaches in a site’s security systems also have ramifications for players. These range from mild inconvenience to financial and identity loss and can be severe.

Financial Loss

As for operators, one of the starkest impacts of a cyber attack could be the financial loss incurred by a player. This occurs when hackers can access a gambler’s online account and withdraw any money they may have won or deposited. 

More than this, financial loss can also occur after the initial attack or even if the player has no money in their player account. As mentioned, this can happen when hackers gain access to a gambler’s personal payment information and then rack up costs via online merchants or by logging into a third-party linked wallet.

Identity Theft

Alongside financial loss, identity theft can play a significant role in a cyber attack on an online casino. With the personal information of tens of thousands or even millions of players exposed, hackers who are experts in cloning identities can use this information to create documentation for a person to sell on the dark web.

This documentation can be purchased by criminals and used to open accounts or make purchases in the name of a player who is none the wiser. In some cases, the identity can even be used to perpetrate crimes, leaving the player on the receiving end of law enforcement. This identity theft also costs the government billions annually to identify and eradicate.

Inconvenience

While paling in comparison to the financial loss and effects of identity theft that players can experience, another impact of a breached online casino is the inconvenience when this happens. 

Although not all cyber attacks knock a casino’s systems offline, a casino will often be unavailable while new security systems and measures are installed or updated. While this happens, players may not have access to games or even their accounts. And even if their money is safe, it might still not be accessible.

In an industry where convenience is one of the most prominent selling points, this can quickly become a nuisance. When this occurs, players may be forced to look for alternative entertainment while their preferred site is undergoing security upgrades.   

 

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