Opinion: Caesars May Prove Biggest Winner as Insiders Claim MGM Hack Could Last Weeks

  • The MGM ransomware attack is entering day four, workers claim it could last weeks
  • Caesars paid $30m to avoid similar issues, keeping the story under wraps until now
  • It cost Caesars very little in retrospect, just 1% of its overall revenue for Q2 of 2023
  • MGM may end up losing millions overall, as guests continue to leave for Caesars
Hacker using computer keyboard
Caesars stands to benefit greatly from MGM’s ongoing ransomware attack issues. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Fourth day in prison

Excluding the ALPHV/BlackCat group that has orchestrated the hack, Caesars Entertainment may stand to achieve the most out of the ongoing ransomware attack on MGM Resorts International.

MGM made the headlines this week when its site went down, shortly followed by many of its electronic services, such as ATMs, slot machines, and even elevators. Guests are queuing out of the door to check in to the Bellagio, hotel room keys aren’t working properly, and gamblers have to manually cash in slot winnings as machines fail to pay out.

Caesars paid a $30m ransom to avoid the group taking control

Insider sources have since confirmed that MGM is the victim of a ransomware attack by the same Russian group that recently held Caesars hostage. It turns out Caesars paid a $30m ransom to avoid the group taking control of its electronic services. MGM, on the other hand, is still holding firm. With the attack now entering its fourth day and rumors that it could last weeks, Caesars may have gone from zero to hero.

Keeping it hush-hush

The different impacts of MGM and Caesars’ handling of their ransomware attacks is clear to see. MGM’s hack is the hot topic in the news this week, covered by all major news sites across the globe, including the BBC, CNN, the Financial Times, and Bloomberg. Meanwhile, the details of Caesars’ hack only surfaced as a result of MGM’s.

As reported by Bloomberg, “two people familiar with the matter” confirmed that Caesars paid tens of millions of dollars to hackers who broke into its systems recently. If reports on social media are to be believed, Caesars actually secured a half-price deal by paying the ransom early – with the total supposedly amounting to $30m.

the ransom is only 7% of its Q2 revenue intake for food and beverage services

While $30m might seem like a lot of money to keep things on the down low, that represents just 1% of the operator’s Q2 revenue for 2023 of $2.9bn. In fact, the ransom is only 7% of its Q2 revenue intake for food and beverage services alone. It’s certainly not spare change, but it’s not going to cost the casino giant greatly when it looks back on its full-year results.

It’s also common knowledge that many major casino companies have insurance to reimburse them if they do suffer a cyber-attack. Whether or not Caesars is one of these is unclear, but its hasty payout could imply that it has coverage at some level.

A louder approach

While Caesars was able to sweep everything under the rug, MGM has reluctantly taken center stage. Not only that, but it could be enduring the heat of that spotlight for plenty more days to come. Several inside sources who claim to be MGM employees allege that they have been informed to expect the hack to last up to two weeks.

some sources have suggested MGM is losing millions each day

With major services under lockdown, some sources have suggested MGM is losing millions each day, although exact figures are unconfirmed. Speaking with KTNV, Steve Budin, an economic expert, said insurance policies will likely cover this to a certain degree if the breach is contained to a few days. But any longer and the company will start to feel the pinch.

All the while, Caesars is well positioned to benefit greatly as disgruntled MGM customers look for alternative gambling and accommodation options. Supposedly, the operator has even increased its Las Vegas room rates dramatically to get the most out of the situation. If its efforts prove successful, it will earn back that $30m and then some over the coming days.

While no doubt it hurt Caesars to fork out millions to bandits, its swift and deliberate action is starting to bear fruit.

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