Venetian Casino Denies Cyberattack After Slot Machines Go Down

The Venetian, one of the largest and most luxurious casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, experienced a technical glitch that affected some of its slot machines on Friday afternoon. The outage lasted for about an hour and a half, and was resolved by 4:30 p.m.

Some guests posted on social media that the slot machines were either down or malfunctioning, sparking speculation that the casino resort was the latest victim of a cyberattack. However, The Venetian issued a statement to the media denying any cyber-related incident.

Venetian Casino Denies Cyberattack After Slot Machines Go Down
Venetian Casino Denies Cyberattack After Slot Machines Go Down

“Today, we experienced a brief outage of some of our slot machines,” the statement read. “This was not a cyber-related incident. Slot machines have now been restored and we are working with guests who were impacted.”

The Venetian’s slot outage comes amid a wave of cyberattacks targeting major casino operators in Las Vegas and beyond.

The Venetian’s slot outage coincided with a week of cybersecurity incidents that hit several casino operators in the U.S. and abroad. On Monday, MGM Resorts International, the largest employer in Nevada and the owner of many casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, confirmed that it had detected a cybersecurity issue affecting some of its systems. The company did not disclose the nature or scope of the attack, but said it was working with external experts and law enforcement to investigate the matter.

On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Caesars Entertainment, another prominent casino operator in Las Vegas and elsewhere, had paid a ransom to hackers who breached its customer loyalty program database and stole personal information of some of its customers. The report said that Caesars paid half of the $30 million initially demanded by the hackers, who used ransomware to encrypt the data and threaten to release it publicly.

Both MGM and Caesars said they had taken steps to protect their systems and data from further attacks, and that they had notified their affected customers. However, the cyberattacks raised concerns about the vulnerability of the casino industry to online threats, as well as the potential impact on their revenue, reputation, and legal liability.

The Venetian was previously targeted by a cyberattack in 2014, allegedly by Iranian hackers.

The Venetian is no stranger to cyberattacks, as it was one of the targets of a sophisticated hacking campaign in 2014, allegedly orchestrated by the Iranian government. The attack was motivated by political reasons, as it aimed to retaliate against Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire owner of The Venetian and its sister property The Palazzo at the time, for his hawkish stance on Iran’s nuclear program.

In October 2013, Adelson suggested that the U.S. should detonate a nuclear bomb in the Iranian desert if Tehran continued its nuclear ambitions. A few months later, in February 2014, hackers infiltrated the computer network of Sands Corporation, Adelson’s company that owned The Venetian and other casinos around the world. The hackers wiped out data from thousands of computers, defaced websites with anti-Israeli messages, and stole sensitive information such as employee records, customer data, and financial documents.

The cyberattack caused millions of dollars in damage and disrupted Sands’ operations for several days. It also exposed Adelson’s personal security details and his involvement in covert operations against Iran. The U.S. government later attributed the attack to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, marking one of the first cases of state-sponsored cyber warfare against a private company.

Adelson died in 2021 after battling cancer. His family sold Sands Corporation and its casinos to Vici Properties, a real estate investment trust, for $6.25 billion in 2021.

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