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Hackers are gambling that casino databases will have big payoff

The Nevada Gaming Control Board is investing several cases of hackers accessing casino customer databases, Jerry Markling, chief of the board’s Enforcement Division, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "We've been seeing a lot of cases involving players club programs and the stealing of points", he said.

Players club programs are loyalty programs that provide points to frequent customers of the casinos; these points can be used toward rooms, food, shows, and even cash rebates.

The board sent a letter in December to casinos reminding them of the state’s customer confidentiality laws and their obligations to protect customer information and review customer database security.

“With respect to these databases, the board has recently investigated numerous incidents where such databases have been compromised and the potential for identity information theft existed. Additionally, as technology advances and more and more information is stored in these databases, they will almost certainly become an even more inviting target for cybercriminals….All of these things create a need for stronger safeguards and periodic reviews of existing policies in order to comply with existing laws aimed at ensuring the protection of such information from unauthorized access”, the letter said.

State gaming officials are also concerned about the casinos’ smartphone applications, which often require users to enter personal information. Criminals are also hacking into these applications to access financial information about the customers, the newspaper noted.

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