Facilities staying shut for now
Six tribal casinos in Oklahoma have had to close in recent days following a ransomware attack. The Arapaho and Cheyenne Tribes of Oklahoma own and operate the six casinos through the Lucky Star Casino brand. The properties are in Canton, Watonga, Concho, Concho (El Reno), Clinton, and Hammon.
Lucky Star Casino has taken measures to try to counteract the attack that led to the closures. In an official statement on Monday, company officials wrote: “Lucky Star Casino has unfortunately joined the growing list of government agencies, businesses, and other casinos to be hit by a ransomware attack.” The company took to Facebook to publish the full statement:
Lucky Star first reported issues on June 18 in a Facebook post that said: “Due to internet disruption all Lucky Star Casinos will be temporarily closed.” All six of Lucky Star’s casinos in Oklahoma will remain shut until the operator resolves the matter.
The company will continue to pay its workers despite these closures while hoping that the casino operations will be able to resume in the coming days.
Casinos a prime target
Officials at Lucky Star Casino have requested that the FBI investigate the ransomware attack. In response to inquiries from local media, the FBI stated that it cannot comment on the matter at this moment in time. It is also not yet clear what it is exactly that the hackers are demanding.
Cybercrime expert Teresa Rule explained why casinos are a target for hackers, saying: “The money is there and that’s why they are a prime target.” She outlined how certain casino establishments will just pay the ransom so they can resume their business, but this ultimately “just feeds the system.”
unclear whether the hackers got access to any personal information
Sometimes, cyberattacks can cause gamblers’ personal data to become exposed. Lucky Star Casino has already issued an apology to its customers and stated that it is unclear whether the hackers got access to any personal information.
A common occurrence in the gambling industry
It appears that nobody is safe. Government agencies all across the world have fallen victim to high-profile ransomware attacks.
Numerous gambling-related companies have been subject to various forms of cyberattacks in recent years. Casinos in Northern California and in downtown Las Vegas suffered such incidents last year, leading to the properties’ temporary closures.
Shortly before merging with DraftKings, B2B gambling solutions provider SBTech suffered an outage after an attempted cyberattack. The incident led to over 50 online gambling platforms having limited offerings for up to six days. SBTech had to create a $30m fund to cover claims from the operators that were affected by the attack.
Finally, personal data breaches have also become an issue in the gambling space. The personal information of over 257,000 OlyBet users was breached earlier this year following a cyberattack. The hacker in question then looked to sell the stolen data. A data breach at MGM Resorts International in 2019 reportedly led to hackers getting access to the personal information of more than 142 million hotel guests.