The economic ripple effects of the cyber attacks against MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment will be felt from Atlantic City to Las Vegas, and everywhere in between.
Locally, MGM-owned Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and the three properties operated by Caesars — Caesars AC, Harrah’s Resort AC, Tropicana AC — may not be alone in dealing with the fallout.
The digital assault on two of the largest US gaming operators will almost certainly drag down the monthly gambling revenue reported by the nine Atlantic City casinos as well as New Jersey online casinos.
Revenue data for Atlantic City casinos won’t be pretty
While Caesars contained most of the damage by reportedly paying a multi-million-dollar ransom, MGM opted to let the situation play out. As a result, slot machines in dozens of casinos were shut down. MGM Rewards members could not access their accounts. And even the simplest of transactions, such as online hotel bookings, were unavailable for weeks.
The actual impact won’t be known until Oct. 16 when the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement publishes September’s monthly revenue reports.
But, Borgata Atlantic City is the city’s highest-grossing casino. Any decline in reported gambling revenue will have a significant impact on the entire market’s monthly returns.
Some analysts have already suggested that MGM was losing roughly $8 million per day as a result of the cyber attacks. Given the scale and scope of the MGM system shutdowns, those figures seem very conservative.
MGM’s public relations joins IT department in epic failure
The lack of transparency from MGM has compounded the issue.
Social media has been flooded with comments from MGM Rewards members expressing concern and disappointment that the gaming company has not been forthright about what happened and how the cyber attack affects them.
Hundreds of commenters have stated they’ve seen unusual charges on credit cards or received correspondence from a financial institution about attempted logins from unknown sources.
In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Caesars acknowledged that hackers stole its Rewards customer database, which contained personal information such as social security numbers and driver’s license numbers.
Digital concerns scaring in-person gamblers
With customers unable to access their player accounts or conduct other digital business, Borgata was noticeably less busy in the second half of September. Public concerns about more cyber attacks also kept gamblers away from their favorite haunts.
And, even though both MGM and Caesars say their online casinos — BetMGM Casino NJ and Caesars Online Casino NJ — were not affected by the cyber attacks (and the same with their sportsbooks), it would be understandable if internet players were reluctant to sign on.
Taken together, September’s monthly gambling revenue reports for AC casinos and their internet partners are going to be less than ideal. The only real question remaining is just how long the fallout lasts.